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Prenatal Yoga: The Benefits of Yoga During Pregnancy

By Dr. Sarah Mickeler (she/her), Founder/CEO, Chiropractor

Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to stay fit, relaxed, and healthy during your pregnancy.

Perhaps you are feeling slightly hesitant. Maybe yoga is an entirely new activity for you. In this blog, we hope to shed some light on any questions or concerns you may have, as well as provide an overview of the benefits of prenatal yoga.

Is Yoga Safe During Pregnancy?

Yoga is safe during pregnancy, especially if you are participating in a class tailored to moms-to-be. From the moment you receive a positive pregnancy test result to the moment when you hold your little one in your arms, yoga is a safe and effective way to move throughout those nine months. Prenatal yoga may help you reduce pregnancy aches and pains, improve your health, prepare your body for birth, and reduce stress and anxiety (more on this below).

You can also continue with yoga post-pregnancy in classes specifically tailored for mom and baby. This can encourage a deeper connection with your little one and help you navigate through this new stage in your life.

What Are The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga?

Yoga can help you stay in-tune with your changing body. It also offers various other benefits, including:

1. Reducing Stress & Anxiety

Stress during pregnancy is common, especially if it is your first time. There are a lot of unknowns that you have yet to experience, which may be anxiety-provoking for some.

Yoga is well-known to help calm the mind and relax the body. It can provide you with an outlet for your stress, and help you refocus your energy. In turn, you may experience a smoother and overall healthier pregnancy.

2. Strengthening Important Muscles

Prenatal yoga focuses on strengthening the pelvic floor, hips, and core muscles – all of which help during the birthing process. This type of yoga also may help reduce aches and pains associated with pregnancy, by strengthening muscles that can provide your body with the support it needs as it changes. Gentle backbends and lunges are particularly useful in assisting pregnant people to find a balance between strength and flexibility in pregnancy.

3. Preparing Your Body For Birth

Most types of yoga use breathing techniques to guide movement and flows. Prenatal yoga is no different. With a slight focus on the breath, you can learn to relax the entire body and take deep and mindful breaths, which can help you get through labor later on. The strengthening of specific muscles, as mentioned previously, also prepares your body for a smoother birth. 

4. Easing Pregnancy-Related Aches & Pains

Pregnancy changes your body, and with these changes, certain complaints are common. Yet, prenatal yoga may help reduce common issues, such as back pain, muscle aches, muscle tension, hip pain, nausea, sleep difficulties, headaches, and more. 

5. Providing a Way For You to Connect with Other Moms-To-Be

When you attend a West End Mama’s prenatal yoga class, you join a community of other expectant mothers. In a way, this tiny community can quickly become an important part of your support system throughout your pregnancy. These fellow mamas and mamas-to-be will experience similar changes and hurdles as you, and it helps to know you aren’t alone. 

What Yoga Poses Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?

While yoga comes with a ton of benefits, there are certain poses you should avoid when pregnant. These include:

  • Belly-down poses – During pregnancy, you want to avoid placing pressure on your belly. This includes any pose that involves lying on your belly or that involves your belly down toward the floor. Luckily, with yoga, there are many alternatives!
  • Core crunches, such as boat pose – Core exercises are great during pregnancy, but not all of them. Poses that involve crunching the belly area may not be appropriate for every pregnant person. This may also mean that twisting poses or forward folds may also be out of the question. Prenatal yoga involves pregnancy-friendly alternatives, helping you get the most out of each yoga session.
  • Deep backbends – Gentle backbends are encouraged during pregnancy. However, you don’t want to push yourself. Deep backbends may result in an increased risk of diastasis recti.

Join Your First Prenatal Yoga Class Today!

At West End Mamas, we are proud to offer prenatal yoga classes instructed by doulas, other mamas, and childbirth educators. Join us for prenatal yoga in Toronto and the Newmarket & York region. Ease back into movement and uncover all the benefits yoga has to offer you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.  


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