Prenatal Yoga Fusion is a gentle blend of Yoga and Pilates designed to guide you through each trimester of your pregnancy. Practicing Yoga and Pilates during pregnancy can help you manage the physical and emotional changes pregnancy can bring.
Guidelines for each trimester
- Consult with your healthcare professional before starting or continuing a Yoga or Pilates programme.
- Pregnancy is not a time where you should be aiming to increase your fitness level; it may even drop a little.
- Focus on pelvic floor exercises now and throughout your pregnancy.
- Care should be taken with long levers (arms and legs). A general guideline is, the further away the legs or arms are from the mid-line of the body (the pelvis), the more challenging the exercise will be.
- Work with a neutral spine and pelvis as much as possible.
- Avoid holding stretches for an extended period of time.
- Reduced blood pressure may cause dizziness. Take care when transitioning from the floor to standing.
- The pelvis becomes more unstable. Focus on maintaining a neutral pelvis throughout the exercises.
- Focus on pelvic floor exercises and engaging the transvers abdominis muscle through a gentle contraction. Imaging the muscle as a corset around the centre of the body.
- Avoid lying in a supine position (back is flat on the floor) from around 20 weeks, or less, depending on the individual. There are lots of alternative positions – seated (floor, cushion or stability ball), semi recumbent (supported on the elbows, kneeling, side lying or standing.
- Balance may be an issue. Take care with repetitive standing exercises. ,most exercises can be performed on a stability ball.
- For comfort, change position frequently e.g. move gently from a kneeling position to a side lying position and then to a seated position.
- Avoid long levels – extending the arms and legs.
- Try not to hold a 4-point kneeling position for too long as it may cause discomfort in the wrists.
- Shorter sessions may be suitable – 30 mins.
- No supine positions.
- Short levels and range of movement.
- Use a pillow to support your tummy in a side lying position.
- 4 point kneeling is great to release tension.
- Continue to focus on pelvic floor.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Try to complete these exercises 1-3 times per day. These exercises can be done anywhere.
Try to complete the exercises in different positions e.g. walking sitting, kneeling.
Hold a maximum contraction for 20 seconds if you can. As you progress throughout your pregnancy you may only be able to hold a maximum contraction for 10 seconds.
Let go completely between each maximum contraction for 4 seconds.
Pull up 100% and let go completely 10 times
Pull up 100% then drop 10% 10 times.
If you find it difficult to contract the front of the pelvic floor, lean slightly forward.
Warm up and posture check. This will apply to all stages of pregnancy.
As your pregnancy develops, increased weight in the breasts and tummy may affect you posture.
Open chest by gently contracting between the shoulder blades.
The weight of your developing baby may cause an anterior tilt in the pelvis (bottom sticks out) and lower back becomes excessively arched causing back ache and discomfort. Try tilting the pelvis by sending the tailbone to the floor and lifting the pubic bone.
Connecting with your breath is important throughout the class on many levels:
- Provide focus and calm
- A strong full exhale can also help connect with core muscles
Breathing– Inhale through the nose and exhale through pursed lips. Imagine you are blowing out a candle when exhaling. Focus on gently tightening around the waist and gently drawing up the pelvic floor. The breath should be full and steady. Try not to hold the breath when exercising.
This can be performed lying (during the early stages of pregnancy). Seated on the floor (resting on the elbows in a semi recumbent position) or a stability ball, or standing
Inhale– prepare in neutral
Exhaleand gentle tilt the pubic bone towards the navel. Have a sense of flattening the lower belly (which will obviously become more difficult as you progress through your pregnancy). Maintain a light pelvic floor contraction throughout.
Inhale– return to neutral
Exhale and gently tilt the pubic bone towards the navel, shortening the space between the ribs and hips.
Inhale – return to neutral. Repeat 5 times
Exhale – flex from tailbone to the head.
Exhale– return to neutral
Bend and stretch – Semi recumbent or side lying position. Sit just off the back of the sitting bones with the spine slightly flexed. Focus on maintaining pelvic stability throughout.
Repeat x 3 each leg
Reduce the level length as your pregnancy develops. Rest out of semi recumbent position before moving on to the next exercise.
Move into the above position. Maintain an imprinted position as you draw a circle with the knee. 4 each direction.
Back and shoulder release
Exhale– flex forward
Seated – Exhale a roll pelvis off the mat to a comfortable position.
Alternative – pelvic tilt on the ball.
Side Leg Lift
Side lining in a neutral position. Shorten lever by bending the leg as pregnancy develops.
Seated facing the side. Keep the legs together and the pelvis and spine in neutral.
Inhale – Prepare
Exhale– lift the hips from the floor.
Standing with feet hip width apart or wider as pregnancy develops. Focus on maintaining a neutral spine throughout the movement.
Inhale– squat down and raise arms
4-point kneeling position. As pregnancy develops only move one arm or one leg. Focus on maintaining a neutral spin and pelvis throughout the movement.
Exhale– extend opposite and leg.
Inhale – return.
Inhale– lower chest to the floor
Seated cross-legged or on a stability ball. Pelvis and spine in neutral, facing forward. Keep the chest open by gently contracting between the shoulder blades throughout the movement.
Exhale– gently rotate spine