On pregnancy yoga, and other ways to exercise

How did you exercise when you were pregnant? It's recommended that you keep as active and fit as possible throughout the entire nine months (although this is easier said than done when even walking down stairs makes you want a nap!) Here our pregnancy blogger tries out maternity yoga...along with a four-legged way to get fit:

I’m a little bit on the chubby side. Despite being a keen exerciser, I’ll always be the one with my head burrowed in the clothes rail, trying to hook the larger jeans off the back hanger. Yeah, it’s me that takes the last size 16. Sorry.

This doesn't mean I've been delighted to slap on the elasticated-waisters and hop on the sofa, buried in crème eggs. I’ve been doing what I can to keep fit. Saving for the months of SMP means that the gym membership had to go, and I quickly discovered that continuing outdoor running wasn’t going to work for me either. So what else could I do?

The easy answer was literally staring me in the face – usually holding a tennis ball and wagging his tail. If you have a dog*, you’ll know you can take the dog to the park for a ‘you stand still, he runs around’ session, or you can actually WALK it. I’ve started doing at least one of the latter per day. The dog’s got the stamina of a kick-ass mountain lion now. I walk faster on the way home because I can’t wait for the sit down and the cuppa.

Most progressively, though, I’ve also crossed the line and taken up my first ‘specifically invented for pregnant women’ thing; maternity yoga.

The class is small, welcoming and warm. In pregnancy, holding complex stretches for periods longer than eight seconds is not advised, so maternity yoga sees you move through a series of gentle postures. There is a focus on breathing that will help you through latter stages of pregnancy and labour itself. For every slightly more complex position, the instructor gave an alternative for those unable to bend.

All through the class, our instructor spoke gently to us, encouraging us to think of our babies, what they’re up to in there and how they are cushioned and soothed by our heartbeats, breathing and digestive noises. This was great; I loved it! But, if considering this type of yoga, you might need an open mind – it can be a little ‘cosmic’. If you can read either of these statements and keep a straight face, you’ll be fine:

  • “Imagine your cervix as a waterlilly flower, opening in the morning sun, every petal unfurling to greet the new dawn”
  • “Remember ladies, keep that jaw loose whilst in this pose – research suggests a relaxed jaw also leads to a relaxed vagina”

I failed to maintain the Child Pose throughout the latter statement. But I was the only one sniggering.

You arrive home feeling mellow, connected with your baby, and much more pliable. I would recommend giving it a try to all pregnant ladies in the last two trimesters. NCT do classes, Babycentre also has more information, and Amazon has a list of good yoga DVDs.

*NB- If you don’t have a dog, I don’t suggest getting one now. Puppies and pregnancy are a really bad mixture.

Did you try yoga when you were pregnant? If not, what exercise worked for you when you were expecting? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Photo thanks to Made for Mums Wandsworth

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