In our last blog post we talked about ways you could modify your yoga practice in the first trimester to help account for some of those common aches, pains and discomforts that arise. As we look to the 2nd trimester, many folks consider this to be the honeymoon period. And for many people it feels that way...especially if they have experience nausea, morning sickness and exhaustion in the 1st trimester. That doesn't mean, however that the 2nd trimester is without its own new range of fun experiences to be had in the body. Here are some of the most common 2nd trimester complaints and how to modify your yoga practice to adjust for them:
When I was newly pregnant I found myself worrying all the time. Worrying about baby's development, worrying about what mysterious thing could happen to me during pregnancy and worrying about the birth. I had no idea what I worry I could be, but I sure found out. Between the knowledge I had coming into pregnancy and birth as a prenatal teacher, combined with reading and internet searches, I found worry could be an easy constant companion in my pregnancy. I also found very quickly that I needed a practice to help me navigate that. Below is a practice I used during my pregnancy to help with anxiety and worry (the great thing? we keep having those feelings as parents to so you can continue to use this practice postpartum).
Swollen feet and ankles is a common and uncomfortable complaint for many of my pregnant mamas. For many, this happens more toward 2nd and 3rd trimesters and can also be triggered by heat or other environmental factors. There are some folks that are simply more prone to swollen feet throughout their pregnancy, but a good percentage of folks will notice at least some slight swelling in the weeks before baby arrives. Part of the reason swelling takes place at this time is the body is preparing for childbirth, building up its stores of fluids with the knowledge that during childbirth many of these floods will be lost...ah, the wisdom of these bodies of ours! Regardless of the cause, swelling can be super uncomfortable. Here are some things you can do that may help bring you some relief!
I've seen this article and info circulating in birth and pregnancy circles recently and so many folks commenting "oh I'm on day 2 and this is killing me" or "I could barely get past day 4". Have any of you done this? Tell me your experience, I'm honestly curious.
It appears this article was written in 2016 and so is probably just making a resurgence as of late due to someone finding it on Pinterest or Instagram. I gotta say, as a prenatal yoga teacher and someone who has been pregnant myself, I have a BIG problem with this challenge for many reasons.
I taught prenatal yoga for 9 years before becoming pregnant myself. I knew low back pain was a major part of pregnancy for most people. I knew anatomically why this was and I even knew ways to help prevent it. Let me tell you, I was still not prepared for the achy low back that showed up for me toward the end of my 2nd trimester and into my 3rd (and oh by the way, continued postpartum!).
Low back pain can be triggered by a myriad of things in pregnancy, one of the most common causes is the added load in the front of the body, courtesy of baby combined with the loss of abdominal of support (also thanks to baby) which causes the low back to have to work much harder and also get more exaggerated in its curvature. Not to mention all the bad postural habits we get into as our posture shifts that can further aggravate this issue.
Ayurveda is called the sister science of yoga. For health and well-being we often combine the practices of yoga and Ayurveda together. Yoga offers practices for the physical body in terms of movement and breath and Ayurveda offers prescriptions around diet and life habits that we can change to help bring greater overall health to the system.
Ayurvedic practices offer particular support around sleep issues. We often think of the time postpartum as a time where sleep is at a premium because of the regular feeding needs and waking of the baby, but many prenatal students often complain about sleeplessness as well. Here are some easy ways that you can use the practice of Ayurveda to help address your issues with sleep no matter when they arise in your journey of motherhood:
In recent years, is has become increasingly clear that yoga has huge health benefits not only dot he physical body, but also in helping relieve stress and anxiety. Yoga has also become an important form of pregnancy exercise and yoga during pregnancy is something that can have many positive impacts not only for the pregnant mama, but also during the laboring process and subsequent childbirth. There are very few pregnancy workouts that will offer some of the benefits that yoga can have as you prepare for childbirth. Here are some ways that yoga will support you during labor and childbirth:
Cesarean sections are on the rise. In the United States it is estimated that around 33% of births end in a C-section. The World Health Organization estimates that on average 10% of births should end in a cesarean section. Why is it that the US is 23% higher than the suggested rate?
Don't get me wrong, Cesarean sections are life-saving medical procedures that can be invaluable in cases where the mother or the baby is in extreme distress. As someone who had an emergency c-section I can attest to the fact that there are certainly times when a c-section is both valuable and life-saving. However, given the impacts a Cesarean birth has on the mother and on the baby one would wonder why the rate is so high above WHO standards. I believe one of the reasons for this high rate is general misinformation or a lack of education around birthing options and practices that are available.
Is yoga safe during pregnancy? This is such a complicated question. Yes! Absolutely yoga is safe during pregnancy, however certain types of yoga and yoga postures are not safe during pregnancy.
The most important thing in pregnancy, with any exercises during pregnancy that you're seeking out, is working with a teacher who knows what a pregnant body should or shouldn't be doing. This means whether its yoga, or cross-fit or lifting weights, you should be working with someone who is trained in working with pregnant moms and knows how to best support your body as it changes throughout your pregnancy.
I'm a firm believer or that mothers can make the right choice for their bodies and for their babies during pregnancy and postpartum, however I do think that education is extremely important. Exercise during pregnancy can run the gamut and a great deal of what should guide you is listening to your own body and what is or isn't working for you. What can often happen, however, is we can override our body's knowledge and push ourselves to do things just because we did them before we were pregnant. I wrote this article not to shame anyone for choices they have made, but simply to provide some insight as to why I wouldn't recommend hot yoga to anyone who is pregnant.
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.