This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast I had Sarah, a prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher, come on the show to talk through the ins and outs of yoga during pregnancy!
We talked about some of the benefits that prenatal yoga can provide to pregnant moms, if it’s safe in all trimesters, and when’s the best trimester to do prenatal yoga. She talked about some of her favorite poses and some of the more popular poses. And then we talked about postnatal yoga and baby yoga as well!
Here you’ll find a glimpse into what we talked about and some of the information shared in the episode, but as always, be sure to tune in for the full story!
- Tell me about some of the benefits of prenatal yoga for pregnant moms (5:35)
- How can prenatal yoga help us prepare for birth? (9:40)
- Is prenatal yoga safe for all trimesters? (13:12)
- What are some of your favorite poses for each trimester? (15:02)
- Do you recommend postnatal yoga? What about baby yoga? (23:46)
- Meditation during pregnancy (26:18)
- About Sarah O’Connor
Tell me about some of the benefits of prenatal yoga for pregnant moms (5:35)
Sarah starts off her answer to this question with a little personal story. After trying for a long time to get pregnant with her first, it ended up happening for her during a 40-days of yoga training! And then her second pregnancy happened during her 200 hour yoga teacher training.
After these experiences, Sarah felt like the stars aligned to tell her that prenatal and postnatal yoga is what she is meant to be doing, and she believes that yoga and specifically prenatal yoga is full of miracles for the body.
As far as specific benefits, the list goes on and on! Prenatal yoga is a fabulous way to move your body during pregnancy.
A few of the things she touches on are:
- Improves sleep
- Reduces anxiety
- Strength building
- Endurance building
- Breath training
- Releases the pelvic floor
- Relieves aches and pains
- Builds community in an in-person setting
In the episode she elaborates on all of these benefits, especially the power of breath and the way that prenatal yoga can benefit our pelvic floors during pregnancy and lead to an easier postpartum experience.
How can prenatal yoga help us prepare for birth? (9:40)
As we were discussing the benefits of prenatal yoga in general, Sarah and I talked a bit about how learning to relax and release your pelvic floor is SO beneficial during your actual labor. Relaxing as much as possible during contractions feels counterintuitive but can help make your contractions more manageable and productive.
Sarah goes on to talk about a specific prenatal yoga class she teaches called deep stretch prenatal, and how often women that took her class when they were full term would literally go into labor the next day!
Never underestimate the power of relaxation and deep stretch, as well as the power of letting go mentally, in helping your body to start labor spontaneously.
Is prenatal yoga safe for all trimesters? (13:12)
This was a question that I knew I wanted to dive into with Sarah as a prenatal yoga specialist because it’s a question I get a LOT from you guys over in my Instagram DMs.
In short, the answer is YES! Prenatal yoga is safe for all trimesters, and a class that’s designed for pregnancy will include postures and poses that are beneficial for every trimester. Sarah shares that often different poses will resonate with moms differently depending on where they’re at in their pregnancy and that even their motivation for being in the class will be different.
For example, first trimester mamas are often there to relieve anxiety and stress through yoga movement. And then throughout the second and third trimesters, it starts to be more about loosening the body to relieve aches and pains and promote good posture.
She recommends going to a prenatal yoga class first to learn what is considered safe, and then you can apply those modifications to most regular yoga classes and get an idea of what postures you probably shouldn’t do.
What are some of your favorite poses for each trimester? (15:02)
I am such a big fan of prenatal yoga and often recommend it as one of the safest forms of exercise during pregnancy, so I was super excited to find out what Sarah’s thoughts were on the best poses for each trimester!
Here’s a little breakdown of what she shared:
- First trimester: She recommends focusing on the breath to expand the lungs and release tension from the shoulders and body. So much change is happening in the first trimester that it’s almost like your body is going into shock – and breath can be a powerful way to manage this
- Second trimester: She recommends poses that will target low back pain and chest heaviness. She says the cat/cow pose is perfect for this! You go on all fours and round your back up like a Halloween cat, and then dip your back down like a cow
- Third trimester: For this, she says that half pigeon pose is one of her favorites because it relieves tension in the hips and relaxes the pelvic floor. And Malasana is a wide sumo squat that is really great for hip opening, low back relief, and getting baby into an optimal position for birth. Lastly, she recommends the legs up the wall pose where you put your legs on the wall at 90 degrees. It is an awesome way to relieve back pain and reduce fluid retention (swelling) in the lower extremities
When you tune in, you will hear full descriptions of how to do these poses, and we also touch on some great yoga poses for breastfeeding and new mothers that are experiencing upper back pain due to constantly hunching over and curving the spine to take care of baby!
Do you recommend postnatal yoga? What about baby yoga? (23:46)
I actually recorded this episode with Sarah when Ryland was just 6 months old, I was really interested to hear her talk about baby yoga and postnatal yoga!
In baby yoga the goal is to incorporate baby into the postures as much as possible based on where mama is at in her postpartum recovery and what is safe for her. Sarah shares some specific examples of how you might move baby around during warrior poses, kiss baby’s toes during cat/cow, and having baby lie on a blanket right in front of you during other poses as well.
She shares about how it’s such a great connection for mom and baby and to the community of other mamas and babies in the class!
Meditation during pregnancy (26:18)
Sarah and I are both big proponents of meditation and its many benefits! Sarah says that she starts every single one of her yoga classes with meditation, but that the length will vary based on the length and type of the class.
At the minimum she aims for 10 breaths, or 3-4 minutes of meditation to set the stage for prenatal and postnatal yoga whenever possible! And in general, you only really need 5-10 minutes of meditation to reap the benefits.
During this final part of the episode, Sarah elaborates with some awesome tips on how to sneak daily meditation into your day as a pregnant or new mom.
About Sarah O’Connor
Sarah is a prenatal postnatal yoga teacher, fitness coach, and postnatal core specialist. She has her 200 RYT and 85hr RPYT. She offers both virtual and in person classes as well as workshops.
How to connect with her: