Yoga in pregnancy

Yoga is an activity that focuses on mental and physical wellbeing. It uses a series of body positions (called postures) and breathing exercises.

Yoga in pregnancy is a great way to stay active and is healthy for you and your baby. Yoga classes in pregnancy use relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that are adapted for pregnancy.

Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety and to help women stay calm in pregnancy and labour. It can also improve your sleep. Many of the breathing techniques you use in yoga can help you get ready for giving birth.

If you use them during your labour they will help you stay calm and breathe steadily through your contractions. Doing yoga during pregnancy may even mean you need less pain relief during your baby’s birth.

Our research

Tommy’s researchers have found that weekly yoga sessions can help reduce anxiety and depression in pregnancy.

A study looking at the effect of yoga on pregnancies with high-risk complications has indicated that yoga can have a positive effect on the pregnancy and on the health of the baby. Read more about our yoga research.

What kind of yoga should I do in pregnancy?

If you’re new to yoga, look for a class that is specific for pregnant women. If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, tell your teacher you are pregnant – they may be trained to show you how to adapt your postures. Focus on improving your yoga technique while you’re pregnant – this is not the time to try new and advanced postures!

As you move into the middle months of pregnancy and your baby grows, your centre of gravity will shift because your bump is getting bigger. This means you’re more likely to lose your balance, so take care and move slowly when practising yoga. For standing postures, use support if you need to – a wall or a chair, for instance.

There are many styles of yoga and if you choose to start practising yoga in pregnancy you are likely to be directed to the more gentle, slower paced styles such as hatha. Avoid yoga that takes place in heated rooms, such as Bikram – you could overheat.

Download and print your weekly pregnancy exercise goal plan

Finding a pregnancy yoga class

Some yoga postures and breathing exercises are not suitable during pregnancy. Because of this, it’s best to find a pregnancy yoga class.

Many, but not all, qualified yoga teachers join the Register of Exercise Professionals, so you could try looking for a local yoga teacher.

You could also ask at your local fitness centre or see whether your midwife knows of a pregnancy yoga class near you.

Find out more about mental wellbeing in pregnancy

More on exercise in pregnancy

Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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