Prenatal Yoga: Everything I Thought It Wasn’t

by tinysneakers

Early on in my pregnancy, I found myself taking on the “so what?” attitude. As in “yeah, I’m pregnant. So what?” People were telling me right and left not to do things. While I appreciate the concern, it got fairly frustrating pretty quickly. I felt almost defiant- I was pregnant, not broken.

While I cut back on a lot of things, I didn’t sit in the corner letting life happen without me. I spent the first few months doing normal, non-pregnant things. I spent the early summer wakeboarding and riding my bike. Granted, the bike riding part was a little harder than normal because I was so quickly out of breath, but it was perfectly safe. I wasn’t reckless- I took precautions, but continued to make my own decisions about what felt right with my body. When the second trimester came along, I quit wakeboarding- I certainly didn’t need to take a hard fall. A little later, I quit riding my bike.

And then I had no idea what to do. Instead of my first trimester activity increasing my confidence, it started to wane with each new piece of information about exercise in pregnancy I was given by my healthcare team. It shook me a little more than I realized, and before I knew it, I wasn’t doing anything.

I’ve gotten over that feeling now and a lot of it can be attributed to the one thing I did do for myself when I felt that uneasiness coming on: prenatal yoga.

prenatal yoga

I went to my first class at 15 weeks not knowing what to expect. Aside from bikram yoga, I’ve never really enjoyed yoga all that much – all that sitting and waiting and thinking and breathing is just too much for me – but I needed to do something that I knew was safe for pregnancy, for my sanity as much as my physical health.

There aren’t too many “specialty” fitness things around here, so I was relieved and a little surprised when I actual found a prenatal yoga class. I signed up planning to go to a class or two to learn what modifications I’d need to make to a regular yoga class, and then I’d just continue with the regular {read: free} classes at my gym.

It’s been 10 weeks and I still haven’t gone back to gym yoga. The prenatal yoga classes ended up being everything I never expected. The least that they were was a workout- they’re not the most advanced and I certainly don’t leave having broken a sweat. But what they are is worth way more than a simple workout.

yoga_pregnant

The instructor is a former labor & delivery nurse, so she knows a thing or two about child birth. At the beginning of each class she reads a birth story from a former student- some are sweet tales of easy, quick and calm births. Others regale stories you’d rather not hear, but really need to- ones where nothing goes as planned. The little side notes the yoga instructor ad libs are more of a learning experience than I’ve gotten from reading 1,000s of pages of childbirth books.  {Did you know you’re supposed to pee a lot during labor because you’re bladder can block the baby’s way out?}

While the classes aren’t extremely intense, there’s no being babied- woman 42 weeks pregnant are in there doing downward dogs, warriors, and squats just like any non-pregnant woman. Yes, I said 42 weeks. There’s something empowering {and comforting} about being in a room full of pregnant woman that are focused on maintaining a normal life and doing what’s best for them and their baby. Not to mention the stretching and relaxing does wonders for the aches that come uninvited with pregnancy.

prenatal yoga classes

The classes, though only once a week, have restored my original attitude that I can still doing anything; I just happen to be pregnant while I’m doing it. I’ve come to the realization that yoga and childbirth overlap more than I’d like. Training your muscles to hold poses is like training for labor; learning to deal with the pain and discomfort of a pose correlates directly to breathing and getting through a contraction.  Knowing you can do anything for a minute? Priceless.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I have my first prenatal yoga class tomorrow and I cant wait!

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Katie @ Healthy Heddleston October 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Ahh you’re pregnant Lisa!? Me too!!

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Jen October 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I’m so happy you had a positive prenatal yoga experience! I wish we had classes around here like yours. I’ve tried two and they both were not my thing. One instructor even told me I didn’t belong because I wasn’t showing yet at 13w.
Thanks for the tip re: peeing during labor. I had no idea!

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