There are many benefits to prenatal yoga. Regular practice of yoga tones the muscles and prepares the body for labor and delivery. In addition, many women find they get an emotional boost from yoga, which is very beneficial.
Although yoga is safe and effective for pregnancy, there are some poses which should be avoided. Positions requiring you to lie on your stomach are not safe for pregnancy. These include poses such as cobra, are not safe particularly as the belly grows.
As the baby grows, you will need to avoid poses which require you to lie on your back for extended periods. The reason is similar to why you shouldn’t sleep on your back, blood and oxygen circulation to the baby are reduced. Some poses, such as savasana, can be modified with you lying on your left side, rather than your back.
Positions requiring a deep twist in the abdominal area should be avoided in pregnancy. These motions constrict the internal organs, including the uterus. A good modification is to twist from the shoulder, while avoiding a deep twist to the abdomen.
Really any abdominal poses should be avoided or at least modified. These are poses that are used to stregnthen the abdominal muscles and flatten the abs. This could also cause undo strain to your abs and the uterus, so skip these, at least until you are trying to lose the baby belly after the baby is born.
Inversions are not safe during pregnancy. Many of these are used in advanced poses, so if you are relatively new to the practice, you may not have ever tried them. There is a risk of falling with these poses that isn’t worth the risk.
If you are new to yoga or aren’t comfortable determining which poses are safe, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. You can take a prenatal yoga class with an experienced teacher. Prenatal yoga DVDs are available for use at home. These are often adapted for each trimester of pregnancy.