Yoga and exercise during my pregnancy
[Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional, I am just a person telling her story. Please consult a prenatal yoga teacher or healthcare professional for expert advice on exercise during pregnancy.]
Allow me to hit rewind for a second before I start talking about yoga and exercise during my pregnancy. At the beginning of 2016 I started doing a type of yoga called “Bowspring.” It’s very different to the “traditional yoga” and I was enjoying it a lot until I took an Iyengar style class in the French Alps in August (Yes, you read it correctly – the French Alps! #takemeback). I loved the class and decided to try the more “traditional style” of yoga when I returned to the US. I couldn’t afford a gym or yoga studio membership so I just went to Lenny Boy every Saturday for yoga and a kombucha (best $5 spent!), and did YouTube videos at home. I also participated in some yoga challenges on Instagram and loved trying new poses and getting inspiration from amazing yogis.
Photo courtesy of @workforyourbeer My left foot is supposed to be flat on the floor oops.
First Trimester (January – March)
We started trying to get pregnant in January of this year (that happened a LOT quicker than I expected) and I was still doing the Lenny Boy and home yoga vibe until the end of the month. My friend, Lois, found out that Y2 Yoga had a “New Student Special” that was a month of unlimited yoga for only $39 (seriously, check it out here). We signed up for January 25-February 25 (or something like that). I found out I was pregnant on January 26 (pregnancy technically began Jan 1) so that was interesting timing. I told my instructors because I was totally over-eager and excited and thought they should know so they could help me make any modifications if I needed to. It turns out, there was not a lot that I did differently that early on, but I did only go to the “Straight Shot” classes which are non-heated because I had never tried a hot class before. Most of the articles I have read recommend non-heated classes for the first trimester. Again, I’m not a health-care professional so please consult someone qualified before beginning an exercise program.
Some yoga teachers and health care professionals recommend that you avoid excessive twisting poses such as Revolved Triangle, abdominal work such as Boat pose, inversions like Headstands and lying on your back in Savasana. I decided that I would continue what I had been doing before pregnancy as well as “listen to my body” and just do each posture carefully and mindfully.
4 weeks pregnant – January 30, 2017: Crow Pose
I carried on playing tennis as normal and went to the driving range to hit golf balls a few times. You can see the tennis courts in the background of the yoga picture above. They were basically in our back yard!
March came and I was hit by the nausea train. Hard! From week 9-14 I was tired and nauseous for most of the day. I ate all the carbs; potatoes were my favorite. I had them grilled, fried, mashed, stuffed…you name it. We sold our house and moved into an apartment so that we could afford to have me stay at home with Oliver when he was born. Read more about that on my post: Downsizing before baby. My exercise for those weeks consisted of slow walks to get the post from the club house and back. Yoga? The only thing that resembled yoga in those weeks were the yoga pants I had on constantly. Comfort was key.
Second trimester (April – June)
Like clockwork my energy and enthusiasm for life came back in trimester two! Also, if I say so myself, the glow came with it. I felt great and resumed my home yoga practice as a monthly membership to a studio was out of the question at this point. My part-time nanny salary didn’t exactly let me rake in the big bucks. I carried on my practice as normal, just doing what felt right for my own body.
21 weeks: May 25, 2017
I also enjoyed walks on the greenways here in Charlotte. I really love having beautiful safe places to take a stroll. We didn’t have a tennis court at our apartment community so we didn’t play as much, but still found some time to play at Carmel Park, Park Road Park and Charlotte Latin.
22 weeks pregnant (about 5 months) Doubles is so much fun!
In June I decided to take the plunge and do my yoga teacher training. I was still so new in my yoga journey but I knew I wanted to learn the postures correctly and I love teaching so I thought maybe one day I can teach! I was going to go to Charleston with Ensley to train at Satsang Yoga Charleston, but the thought of leaving Daniel for a month did not go down well with my increasingly intense pregnancy hormones. Y2 had a great schedule and I had loved my month with them so I signed up! This was the best decision for me, especially being pregnant (23 weeks at the start). It kept me fit and helped me work through so many things in my life that helped me get in a better space to become a mom. Little did I know that I was going to need it! See my post “Diary of an overwhelmed first time mom“.
Black hides the bump! 30 weeks pregnant, about 7 months.
The weekends were physically and emotionally challenging. We practiced Thursday through Sunday and even had practice teaching sessions in the afternoons that required us to do some short flows. I made sure I kept hydrated with Kangen water and packed LOTS of snacks. Seriously, I had the most bags for sure! A cooler is a vegan’s best friend. Another great thing about the training was that included in the training price, we got to practice at the studio during the week.
Third trimester (July – October)
Around week 26 in July I started modifying my chaturangas and was continuing to modify the poses that twisted intensely like Crescent Twist, Chair Twist and the Spinal Twists. I ditched the stomach crunches and opted to hold side plank during “ab time.” As time went on and training came to an end when I was 32 weeks pregnant, I began to feel tired again. I took my yoga practice back home and focused a lot on breathing, stretching and connecting with my baby. A typical flow for me from 36-39 weeks looked like this:
Cat and Cow (Lots of time here! Added back stretches too!)
Downward Facing Dog
Walk to the top of your mat
Halfway lift and Fold
Fold and Halfway lift
Upward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog
*Right leg 3 point
Modified side plank
Lunge (Dop left knee to the floor)
Wide legged forward fold
*Repeat on the left side
Seated pose with hands on my big belly
I carried on walking around the neighborhood and even did a little jog/shuffle on the night of October 5 to help induce labor, and it worked. Oliver was born the next day.
I’m happy that yoga teacher training kept me busy and active, otherwise I might have spent the summer indoors on the couch. Eeeeek. Now my postpartum recovery and getting back intone exercise routine is another story for another day. Have a great week!
What exercise worked for you during pregnancy?
Did your exercise routine look different in the three trimesters?