What is Prenatal Yoga:
Prenatal Yoga classes are taught by a yoga teacher with an additional certification in pre/postnatal care. This is significant because a pregnant person’s body undergoes many shifts that affect their comfort, balance and chance of injury. There is also continual concern for the safety of the baby.
Why take prenatal yoga class:
During pregnancy, exercise is recommended to stay healthy, reduce aches, regulate mood and improve sleep (2). A prenatal yoga class is specifically designed with the needs of a pregnant person in mind. Intentions might include relaxing, targeting areas of discomfort from pregnancy, or providing specific cues and adjustments with props to support a different body shape.
This is a great option for:
a safe, low to moderate intensity class to maintain fitness during all stages of pregnancy
improving mental and physical connection to body and baby
a deeper understanding of pregnancy
Non-prenatal or regular yoga for the pregnant person:
To participate in a standard yoga class, one would be expected to know their own prenatal modifications/omissions and take rest when needed, rather than follow the general class instruction. Be aware that teachers of regular yoga classes may not have the education to give the best suggestions or safe hands on adjustments for pregnant people.
A regular yoga class may be perfectly suitable for advanced students and yoga teachers, who have done their research and feel very comfortable adjusting their movement independently.
Within the first trimester, with doctor’s clearance*, most recreational practitioners are also OK to continue their normal, moderate fitness regime.
*Before starting any exercise program it’s advisable to consult your healthcare professional. This is not to question your fitness so much as to screen for abnormalities or complications, which may be limiting factors (2).
Group Prenatal Yoga:
Group prenatal classes, will include students in any stage of pregnancy, eventhough we know, nine weeks pregnant is not the same as thirty-nine weeks. Additionally, participants will have different desires for workout intensity and levels of yoga experience. Some pregnant people feel consistently well and energetic, others less so, due to fatigue, nausea, reflux, hormonal shifts or physical discomfort. Your prenatal group class will be trying to accommodate all these needs at once!
This generally results in a group prenatal class that is:
slower pace, light or easy intensity level
limited attention, due to instructor assisting those with higher needs
preregister, limited schedule and harder to find, due to specialization and needing a minimum attendance
Benefits Of Private Prenatal Yoga:
Since every pregnancy is different and the experience transforms over time, taking private sessions can be the most beneficial and value minded option for prenatal yoga classes. Prenatal yoga instructors will vary depending on their experience and knowledge, but here is a list of what Melissa offers:
Prenatal Yoga lessons including non yoga movements that contribute to your current needs
Class intensity based on how you feel in the moment
Comprehensive information relevant to the physical state of pregnancy
Compassionate approach to the mental and emotional transformation of motherhood
Stress relieving tools and affirmations to connect with your changing self and baby. Meditations to use during labour
Class flexibility from your feedback and my full attention
A resource to other professionals like midwives/doulas, pelvic floor physios, lactation consultants, etc.
I believe a deeper knowledge of the pregnant body translates to better and more informed choices outside of the prenatal yoga class, therefore expect:
Fitness tips on movements to avoid, relevance of heart rate and exertion scales
Understanding of diastasis recti and pelvic health.
Current evidence based sources to guide prenatal exercise (1), or pregnancy advice (3)
Finally, private prenatal yoga classes can easily transition to postnatal yoga when you have an instructor you are comfortable with, and was with you through your life changing journey.
1) Outdated prenatal yoga myths that many professionals and specialists don’t know. Article
2) Benefits of prenatal yoga by the Mayo Clinic. Article
3) Evidence based information on pregnancy and parenting. Source
2010 - Melissa teaches yoga and meditation in Toronto.
2016 - Pre/Post Natal Fitness Certification (Equinox Fitness Training Institute).
2018 - Intervention free water birth of baby Rio, after an easy and active pregnancy.
Within 2 years, Melissa's fitness reached the same or better than before becoming a mother.
Find out what worked for her and build your own program by booking private prenatal sessions today.