Pregnancy

Check out this topic for women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or who just had a baby or for any other issues related to sexuality for men or women.
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Amy
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:58 pm

Pregnancy

Post by Amy »

Hi,

I am teaching a Yin class and one of my participants is around 11 weeks pregnant. Are there any poses I should be avoiding for her? She hasn't told anyone about the pregnancy yet, so any adaptations need to be subtle and planned in advance. She lost a baby in the first trimester in the Summer so obviously she is taking things easy and I want to be cautious! She came to a class recently and got so much out of it, I would really like to be able to continue to meet her needs. Any thoughts gratefully received!

Best wishes for a lovely day,
Amy
Bernie
Posts: 1236
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Re: Pregnancy

Post by Bernie »

Hi Amy

During the first trimester the mother to be is not as restricted in range of motion so can do most postures, but what you may want to consider is not so much which postures to avoid, but how to do any pose. A general point of advice from teachers who have been pregnant and who are both prenatal and yin yoga teachers is to reduce hold lengths to 3 minutes max. Plus, however far the student could go before being pregnant, that should be the limit now. Even though hormones like relaxin may soften some of the fascia (pubic symphysis, SI joint ligaments, etc.) which may make more range of motion available, getting more flexible is no longer the intention of the practice. Use the practice to rest a bit, focus on sensations and/or the breath, and stimulate energy flow to both the mother to be and the baby.

Having said all that, there may be some postures which you may wish to avoid or at least modify: anything that puts a lot of pressure on the belly, like Sphinx pose, or really deep twists. These poses can be done (see the final bit of the video at the end of this description of Sphinx for example) but modifications are suggested. See the list of Asanas on this site for some examples of prenatal variations or pick up a copy of the second edition of The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga to see lots of prenatal alternatives. Also, this section of the Forum has lots of suggestions as well.

A last bit of advice: read this article about the current understanding over whether women should lay on their backs for significant time when pregnant.

Good luck to your student!
Cheers
Bernie
Amy
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:58 pm

Re: Pregnancy

Post by Amy »

Thank you Bernie. It was sphinx I was particularly thinking about. But I might just avoid that for now until the pregnancy is announced - I don't want to 'out' her with bolsters etc. You are always very helpful and I (and know others) very much appreciate it.

Very best wishes,
Amy
Bernie
Posts: 1236
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Re: Pregnancy

Post by Bernie »

You are welcome, Amy.

Another option, or little "trick" we can play as teachers is to subsume the instructions for pregnant students inside a list of considerations. For example, you could say for Sphinx, "If you ate before coming to class, or have any stomach discomfort, cramps, nausea, are pregnant or recently have been pregnant, or just don't feel comfortable today with your belly on the floor, or want to try something new and different, trying placing a bolster under both your hips and your elbows. It may make the posture feel quite different." This way the student has many plausible reasons for using the props, and others in the class may also enjoy this variation of Sphinx.

You can do the same "trick" for other prenatal options and alternatives.

Cheers
Bernie
Amy
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:58 pm

Re: Pregnancy

Post by Amy »

Thanks again! That's a great tip :)
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