Prenatal Yoga: Is It Safe Late In Pregnancy?

Many pregnant women often ask me about the different ways they can keep active during the later stages of their pregnancy.  It is quite common for their regular exercise routines – running, cross-fit training or resistance training – to become increasingly painful and uncomfortable in their the 3rd trimester.

Never fear mama…Yoga is here!


Yoga is a great way to keep active during all stages of pregnancy, but especially in the later stages of pregnancy.  While previous exercise routines focused on strength building and high impact cardio exercise like running, yoga focuses on stretching, relaxation and breathing which can help through the last stages of pregnancy and prepare the body for labour and childbirth.

However, there are a few precautions you should take when you are pregnant – even in a yoga class!

Remember every pregnant woman’s favourite hormone – relaxin?  Relaxin is the hormone released to help “relax” and open the pelvis, giving your baby the space it needs to descend into the pelvic inlet and pass through the birth canal.  What you may not know is that relaxin also affects other joints in your body, and can create hyper mobility (or looseness around joints that should be stable).   You may notice that getting into certain postures or poses may be easier than before pregnancy and that your flexibility has increased. These effects however can result in injury due to the instability or looseness of your joints.  Pushing yourself too far can cause you to damage a joint or over-stretch a ligament or muscle.  You may not even feel the result of this damage until well after baby is born and after the relaxin has left your body.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your next prenatal yoga class:

  • Tell the instructor how far along you are in your pregnancy and if you have been experiencing any joint or muscle pain or discomfort.
  • Avoid any poses that put your head below your waist this includes downward dog in the later stages of pregnancy (try the posture against a wall instead of on the floor).  It’s a good alternative and gives you the openness in your chest and shoulders that this pose encourages.
  • Focus on standing poses with both feet planted at a hip width distance apart for stability.
  • Take advantage of savasana (or dead body pose) in side-lying position as an opportunity to connect with yourself and your baby.
  • Avoid the straight arm plank.  The plank position puts too much pressure on the connective tissue that keeps your abdominal muscles together (particularly if you have Diastasis Recti – abdominal separation).  Try side planks instead!

And most importantly, enjoy a few moments of relaxation and practice your breathing!  Only a few short months left!

Om, Mama.

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