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Pregnancy Yoga Dos and Don'ts

Whether you’ve got a serious yoga habit, or just picked it up once baby was on the way, adjusting your yoga practice for pregnancy is a must. With all of your body’s changes, and that little babe growing inside, you’ve got to be smart--and safe--every time you hit the mat. And while there are certainly some great prenatal yoga classes out there, many of us already have a certain yoga class addiction or just can’t find a prenatal yoga class that fits into our schedule.

To help us make sense of our pregnancy flow--and make sure we’re avoiding anything unsafe during our yoga practice, we turned to pregnant NYC yogi Anna Gannon. Below she tell us what 5 yoga moves to avoid during pregnancy, and walks us through a luscious pregnancy-friendly Low Lunge Open Twist. Plus stay tuned over the next few weeks for Anna’s favorite yoga poses for pregnancy, photographed by Ana Schechter.

Why is yoga so important during pregnancy?

Yoga increases circulation which helps with decreasing swelling during pregnancy. It helps you to stay connected with your body and breath which can help you to feel more balanced, grounded and calm during the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. It keeps your body strong and open, preparing you for giving birth in the future.

If you're not taking a prenatal class, how can you be sure you are being safe?

I think the main way to stay safe in any yoga class pregnant or not is by paying attention to how you feel in any given moment. If you are feeling good then chances are what you are doing is safe for your body, if you don't feel comfortable or something doesn't feel right on your body then don't do it. Yoga is an individual practice and every body and person is different. Although you should always inform a teacher that you are pregnant, do know that a teacher can't tell you specifically what is right or wrong for your body, only you can know that so make sure to remember to feel.

What should you avoid during pregnancy?

1. Deep twist. An open twist where your belly isn't being compressed are fine.

2. Deep back bending or a lot of back bending. Instead, try supported bridge with a block under your sacrum for a few breaths or camel pose with your hands on your low back.

3. Laying on your back. As your belly gets bigger, avoid laying on your back for savanna or for any other poses that have you on your back for more then a few breaths. Instead of savanna, try sitting up in meditation or laying on your left side.

4. Laying on your belly, for obvious reasons. Instead of doing back bending on your belly in classes, try standing on your knees and doing camel pose, it's the same stretch.

5. Inversions. If you did inversions before you got pregnant, then it might be ok to continue as long as you feel balanced and confident in them. However keep paying attention to how you feel as your belly grows as the increasing weight can throw off your balance. If you weren't doing inversions before pregnancy, then wait until after pregnancy to try them.

How can you incorporate that concept into their own pregnant practice no matter where they are?

During pregnancy we experience many physical changes as our belly grows, and we have to adjust and give our new bodies the support they need. The same is true in doing yoga during pregnancy. Where we used to have our feet together, we now open them widely to create more space, where we used to lay on our bellies, we now settle back into a child's pose. Don't be afraid to find your own way around a pose, especially during pregnancy. This is something I learned at my time guiding at Strala Yoga and still something I apply to my classes and my own practice today. Move how it feels good to move and make the pose your own, your practice will look different then the other people around you and that is a beautiful thing.

How To: Low Lunge Open Twist (pictured above)

The lunge opens your hips and strengthens your legs preparing you for birth and it's also a chest, shoulder and back opener which really feel great to open since the weight of your belly can make you start hunch over and compress.

1. Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Make sure your right knee is over your right ankle to protect your knee.

2. Slide your left hand way off to the left, pressing down into your left palm and sweep your right arm to the left just above your right ear.

3. Lean back allowing your chest, shoulder and belly to open forward, slightly arching your back to give it a nice stretch.

4. Repeat with the left foot forward and right foot back.

 

Anna is wearing Beyond the Bump By Beyond Yoga Scoop Neck Ruched Maternity Tank Top and Adjustable Belly Maternity Crop Leggings

Photography by Ana Schechter for Well Rounded NY.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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