Regular exercise during pregnancy helps to keep weight gain slow and gradual and prepare the female body for the rigors of birth. During the first two trimesters, normal exercise can include jogging, running, aerobics and even some lightweight training. As the pregnancy progresses, alternative forms of exercise like yoga can be used to stay in shape while taking the intensity level down a bit.
Yoga is an exercise that involves stretching, balance and increased flexibility. During the first few months of pregnancy, traditional yoga poses are completely safe. As the pregnancy progresses, expecting women may find certain poses are no longer comfortable or unsafe for the baby due to changes in the female body and balance issues associated with pregnancy.
Prenatal yoga is a modified version of the exercise created to allow pregnant women to continue practicing yoga throughout pregnancy. Prenatal yoga poses are broken up into three categories for the three trimesters of pregnancy. Long time yoga followers may find they are more comfortable attending their regular yoga classes, but certain changes in each pose will need to be made as the uterus grows larger.
During the first trimester, recommended yoga poses include prenatal sun salutations, pigeon, triangle, ardha chandrasana, warrior II, baddha konasana and knee to ankle. These poses are chosen to increase flexibility. The second trimester can include all poses from the first trimester as well as vajrasan, bhadrasan, marjari asan and hasta utthanasan. Third trimester poses include ardha titali asan, poorna titali asan and supta udarakarshanasan.
It is important to stay away from yoga poses that involve twisting, hopping, jumping and lying flat on the stomach. These poses are not made for pregnant women and should be avoided for the safety of the fetus. When in doubt, contact a local yoga instructor and ask questions about proper yoga poses during pregnancy.