As every pregnancy is different you should exercise at a comfortable pace according to your own needs. Be aware of your body and adapt the postures to accommodate your tummy as it grows and discontinue the posture at first sign of pain, discomfort, dizziness, nausea or tiredness.
While pregnant you should avoid postures that involve strong use of the abdominal muscles and backward bends. Also avoid sudden jerky movements and come out of the postures slowly and gently. Before standing up from a lying down position roll on to your side first to avoid applying pressure on the tummy.
Keep a steady breathing pattern and if you start to puff come out of the posture and relax until you get your breath back. Do not hold your breath during the practice and avoid heavy breathing exercises, give preference to deep breathing, alternate nostril breathing and breathing meditations, as they are more relaxing.
During pregnancy the muscles and joints tend to be softer than normal. Be gentle and do not force your body into any position, as this may overstretch and damage the muscles and joints.
You should stop the practice if you have any bleeding and consult your doctor at once.
Be aware of your balance, as your centre of gravity changes during pregnancy. Use a wall or chair to help with the balancing postures when necessary.
Always use a yoga mat and practice yoga with bare feet to prevent slipping. Use other props like belt, blocks, chair or wall to help with the postures when appropriate if needed.
Marcia has been practising yoga for over 20 years and has specialised in the Hatha and Ashtanga schools of yoga, although has also enjoyed learning other branches such as Iyengar. As well as yoga she practices meditation, and plays a wide range of sports, including badminton, cricket, cycling, and walking.