By Effie Koustas, MPT
There are many choices when it comes to workouts, however the biggest challenge is knowing which one is right for you. During pregnancy, there are certain positions to avoid. Depending on the instructor, they may not be well educated in this area and may not be able to modify the exercise for you. I have personally used Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga DVD workout during my pregnancies and found it to be very effective and safe enough to recommend to others.
Yoga is generally safe for all, especially during pregnancy. There are no ballistic movements, which should be avoided for injury prevention. During pregnancy, our ligaments are lax, and jumping or jogging places your joints at a greater risk of injury. The poses can be done standing or sitting and can be modified as shown in the DVD, through the different stages of pregnancy.
Daily flexibility is optimal in staying balanced, as our bodies tighten with day-to-day activities. Yoga is known for stretching your muscles, however it also challenges your balance, which is affected during pregnancy as you gain weight and your center or gravity shifts.
The benefits of exercise are better sleep, better mood, more energy and improved strength and flexibility, to name a few. Those benefits are great for all, including during pregnancy as you are establishing good habits for your baby as well. Yoga keeps you active while staying motivated to exercise. Shiva Rea does a great job explaining and demonstrating the poses, in a soothing tone, which helps with relaxation.
Lastly, when looking for a safe workout routine during pregnancy, you must take into consideration what your activity level was prior to your pregnancy. If you worked out prior to your pregnancy, then continuing should be seamless, keeping in mind the above considerations. If you are new to working out, don’t be discouraged. Studies show that starting an exercise program during pregnancy, if you are having a healthy pregnancy, is beneficial not only to you but also to your baby.