You and your growing babies safety is a number one priority so let’s chat about using our props and making those suitable modifications for safety through each of our trimesters. As I mentioned in our introduction we want to have our mama tool kit with a bolster, blocks, strap, blanket or similar things around the house that can serve as those. Our props will be supportive in assisting those postures that we may feel we can no longer do or start to feel more challenging as we grow. They will act as tools supporting the body into more stable positioning which will create a safer environment for you and baby. We’ll go over the use of these as we incorporate them into each practice but having them near with you along the way is a great place to start. I want to remind all of you, these are my suggestions and options I want to share but consulting with your Doctor is always the best idea to find out what’s the safest approach for you and your practice.
The main modifications are closed twists, backbends, inversions/ arm balances and being flat on belly and back- whether you're an avid practitioner or newer you want to check in on these things as you practice. Ask yourself things like is it safe, am I creating space, does it feel good, if it feels good is it wise, is there a purpose that supports not only my mind and body but growing babies. The simplest note that’s helped me with clarity is CREATING SAFE space for the baby and our bodies as things are shifting and moving around we need space. We get a physical reminder as our belly becomes visible but in the beginning it may just be things like fatigue and nausea. So we want to have a continuous mindful check-in with ourselves each step of the way.
CLOSED TWISTS: Examples are Twisting Chair, Twisting Triangle, Twisting Half-Moon & Supine Twist with legs- These closed twists can compress belly/ put strain on abdomen which is already happening due to the expansion, restrict blood flow to the uterus and compromise space for the fetus. My recommendation would be with Natural pregnancy avoid as pregnancy is confirmed or if doing IVF I’d avoid during all the preparation for your transfer. Please consult with your endocrinologist or doctor for the choice that’s best for you.
BACKBENDS/ CORE: Urdva Dhanuranasana/ wheel, Urdu muka shavasana/ updog- This is tricky because they can feel so good. I did these well through my first pregnancy but airing much more on the side of caution this time around. You run the risk of overstitching the abdomen which again is already happening on it’s own and something called diastase recti can happen, that’s when the right and left abdominal wall separate and cause a puffing and can take a while to repair post natal. And things like core work, navasana (boat) we want to avoid too much (6 pack) abdominal emphasis as we move along. First trimester not a problem unless it doesn't feel good for you. Once the belly is visibly growing is when I would start using more caution. USE knees, bolster and modify.
INVERSIONS/ ARM BALANCES: Revolve around your safety and preference. Things to keep in mind again are Crow/ Bakasana (rounding compressing belly), Inversions- feet above heart- Blood flow will rush away from the uterus instead of to the uterus. If you have low blood pressure, I’d avoid inversions. Our sense of gravity gets challenged and we don’t want to risk falling so using a wall would be highly encouraged if you want to continue inversions given that you are completely comfortable and have been doing them long before your pregnancy. It’s not the time to try anything that doesn’t feel incredibly safe for you or unfamiliar.
FLAT BELLY/BACK- First trimester usually still feels good and is completely safe. As we get into 2nd, 3rd using bolster, blocks pillows to support your back at an incline or side in savasana, when we lay flat on our backs the size of our uterus can put pressure into our intestines and vena cava (biggest vein carrying blood flow from our lower body to our hearts and just isn’t as comfortable any longer. Modify going to the belly by coming to all 4’s and you can take postures like Cat/ Cow or simple Ustrasana (camel) in place of cobra and updog as you grow.