Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the First Trimester

Prenatal yoga is a very popular training for mums-to-be. Besides the fitness advantages, yoga also teaches you how to relax and how to breathe correctly while exercising. Pick a class and go. It’s not for everyone, but you might like yoga and maybe even continue with postnatal yoga.

Types of classes

There are plenty of yoga classes in London that are dedicated to pregnant women, offering beginner, intermediate and advanced yoga trainings for women in their first, second and third trimester. Discuss with your yoga instructor to help you pick the one that is the most suitable for you. During the first trimester you probably don’t have too many restrictions regarding physical exercise, so you can also opt for regular yoga classes – unless your doctor suggested otherwise. For practising prenatal yoga in your second trimester, you will need support for most of the poses. One of the lightest yoga styles is Hatha Yoga. It has a slower tempo and it’s very approachable for beginners.

Yoga postures for the first trimester

If you’re new to yoga, you’ll start your training by learning basic postures and how to breathe correctly. Then, the exercises should focus on gradually increasing your strength and muscle flexibility. Meditation is a core part of traditional yoga styles, but you can opt for classes that concentrate more on the fitness part of yoga and less on meditation. Power yoga is the most popular yoga style that concentrates mostly on the fitness benefits of yoga, but it is also one of the most demanding yoga trainings. Below are a few postures that specifically benefit the muscles that prepare you for pregnancy and giving birth.

Sideways swings

Parighasana, or sideways swings, is a great pose to build your muscles on the sides of your body and to improve spine flexibility.

Cat and dog poses

These are relatively easy to do, and very efficient in strengthening the muscles in your lower back. Alternate the positions to relax and increase flexibility of the spine.

Urdhva Dhanurasana backbends

This pose is a good start point for more advanced backbend yoga poses. This exercise will improve the flexibility of your spine and it will help you build energy and strength.

Warrior poses

These poses will help you strengthen your joints and prepare your body for supporting the extra weight.

Stay safe

Remember to consume extra calories in the days when you exercise and to always consult with your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise class. If you ever feel that a yoga position is uncomfortable for you, adjust your position. Ask your class instructor to guide you or to suggest another position with the same benefits.

Exercise during Pregnancy

Exercising for half an hour each day brings plenty of benefits during pregnancy. Combined with a healthy diet, a few light to moderate exercises on a regular basis will improve your muscle tone and give you strength and energy. You will be more prepared for the moment of labour and it will be easier to get back in shape after childbirth. Another plus is that your mood will generally be better and your sleep quality will improve. Below are a few of the most popular exercising activities and their benefits for pregnant women.

Pilates

Pilates exercises are great for strengthening your abdominal, back and kegel muscles. Check with your doctor for advice on physical activity before starting a Pilates class. You should generally avoid positions that require you to lay on your back, especially after the 10th week of pregnancy. Ask your instructor for recommended positions depending on your pregnancy stage. Most exercises can be easily adapted to your needs and limits, so if you’re well informed you can safely benefit from Pilates exercises.

Prenatal Yoga

There are different types of Yoga, so make sure you choose exercises that are safe for pregnant women, or look for a Prenatal Yoga class. Yoga training will improve your muscle tone, help with back pain relief and keep you flexible. Prenatal Yoga exercises are designed specifically for pregnant women, so they are absolutely safe for you to try.

Jogging

Stretching exercises are great for maintaining the muscle tone and for flexibility, but they need to be complemented with cardio exercises. Jogging will give you a great heart workout and it’s time-efficient. The secret to keep up is routine. Go out for a short, 10 to 15 minutes run every day at the same time, it will get easier and easier to stick to this schedule. Don’t push yourself over the limits, intense workouts are generally not recommended during pregnancy. If you haven’t jogged before, start with a lighter form of exercise, such as walking.

Walking

Walking is one of the safest exercising options during pregnancy. If your doctor advised you to limit physical activities, go out for a walk whenever possible. The best part about walking is that you can combine it with fun activities – such as going for a stroll in the park – and with useful activities – like going to the supermarket. Walking quickly counts as cardio training and will improve your circulation.

Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise during pregnancy, safe and with great benefits at the same time. Most pregnant women enjoy the feeling that their body is lighter in the water. Swimming helps relief back aches and gives your heart and lungs sufficient workout. Join an aquanatal class for water-based exercises designed especially for pregnant women.

Healthy Habits for Sleeping Well during Pregnancy

It becomes harder and harder to maintain a good sleeping routine as the pregnancy progresses. Nausea, pressure on the bladder, cramps and mood swings and usually the factors that stay in the way of a good night’s rest. Here are a few tips on how to develop healthy habits that will help you sleep well during pregnancy.

Find a good sleeping position

Sleeping on the side is the best position for both you and your baby. On the opposite end is sleeping on the back: this can result in back pain and problems with breathing and circulation. As the pregnancy evolves, when lying on the back, the weight of your uterus puts pressure on your back and intestines and reduces the blood flow to your uterus. Sleeping on your stomach is not associated with any risks, but it can become very uncomfortable as your belly and breasts increase in size.

As you progress towards your third trimester of pregnancy, train yourself to sleep on the left side. This position is optimal for increasing the blood flow and provision of nutrients to your baby. Shifting positions during sleep is perfectly normal and should not be a reason to worry. If you reach an uncomfortable position, you will wake up. Many pregnant women find it difficult to stick to one position. If you’re feeling tired or uncomfortable from sleeping on your left side, try using pillows to prop up your back or legs.

Create a sleeping routine

Establish a sleeping routine and try to stick to it. Pair it with a ritual that helps you relax before going to bed, such as drinking a glass of warm milk, brushing your hair or reading. Avoid eating, watching TV or surfing the web while in bed. It’s easier to fall asleep when you associate sitting in bed with sleeping and not with stimulating activities that normally occur during the day.

Use relaxation techniques

Relax your body and mind with a massage, stretching exercises and prenatal yoga. Exercising will also help you stay in shape and improve your circulation and your physical well-being. Schedule you exercises in the morning and afternoon, but keep your physical activity low in the hours before bedtime.

Take daytime naps

Take half-hour naps during the day to reduce fatigue. One or two power naps of 10 minutes are also healthy for your mental and physical well-being. You will feel less tired and have better concentration throughout the day. Avoid taking naps that are longer than 30 minutes, otherwise you might feel drowsy all day.

Eat little and often

In between your main meals, include snacks and small meals. This keeps the energy levels stable and it also helps reduce pregnancy nausea for some women. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid spicy or fatty meals to ease your digestive system.

Top 6 Celebrity Diets during Pregnancy

What are pregnant celebrities eating these days? Between struggling to stay in shape and resisting to cravings, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine can be difficult. Find below how some celebrities managed to eat for two in a healthy way. A current trend in exercising seems to be yoga training, combined with eating fruits, nuts and fish. As for dealing with cravings and morning sickness, each one has their own unique tricks.

Kate Middleton had a healthy lifestyle before being pregnant as well, so not many sacrifices were needed. Her diet includes healthy snacks of nuts and fruits and nutritious meals with codfish, chicken, turkey and some (craved) vegetarian curry. She gave up drinking coffee and using tanning spray in order to minimize possible negative effects. Kate also reduced her intense workout and changed to lighter exercise activities, such as morning walks and pregnancy yoga. To prevent the appearance of stretch marks, Kate uses cocoa butter, which is rich in Vitamin E.

Curry dishes were also among Lily Allen’s cravings when she was pregnant with her second child, Marnie Rose. Lily also liked to spend lazy afternoons watching DVDs while drinking tea and eating sweet treats like caramel biscuits and sweetened yoghurt.

Victoria Beckham included omega-3 rich foods in her pregnancy diets, with a preference for smoked salmon. Her cravings for marmalade toast with tea are not too bad either. Many pregnant women crave for junk food, high in salt or sugar. To stay in shape, Victoria continued her yoga exercises, combined with pilates and cardio workouts.

Coleen Rooney declared she felt much more comfortable with her curves during the second pregnancy and did not hesitate to sunbathe at the beach. While exercising to stay fit, Coleen is not concerned with the gained weight, but rather with eating healthy. She used scented candles for dealing with her pregnancy cravings and was spoiled by her husband with bath oils massages for reducing backaches.

Sophie Dahl craved for pineapple during her first pregnancy, which is quite healthy and can also help with morning sickness. Sophie likes to eat organic and sustainable food, cooked from scratched and with passion.

Mel B kept a pretty strict pregnancy diet while expecting her third child, in 2011. Breakfast was the most consistent meal, including eggs, turkey and avocado. Lunch consisted of light salads with chicken or fish. She had plenty of fruits for snacks and replaced coffee with herbal tea.