I have some BIG news to share: I’m pregnant!
After a miscarriage, a surgery to remove a uterine polyp, and lots of freaking out about whether or not I’d ever be able to give my daughter a sibling, I can finally tell you that it is happening—I’m pregnant. I’ve had a lot of first trimester scares—the kind of terrifying, stop-you-in-your-track scares that only mamas who have experienced a pregnancy loss will ever really truly understand (more on that later). But I’ve made it into the “safe zone” of the second trimester and I’m feeling good that this little bean I’m growing is going to become a healthy child.
During my first trimester with my first pregnancy, I didn’t feel one bit different than normal. I wasn’t nauseous. I wasn’t particularly tired. My belly stayed flat until I was at least 20 weeks. It never crossed my mind that anything could go wrong. I was just excited and mostly happy—just a teensy tad bit nervous about what the future would hold.
The first trimester this time around, on the other hand, has been SO different. I felt exhausted beyond measure (and moody as hell, too) before I even had a positive pregnancy test. My overwhelming excitement was quickly replaced with anxious, all-consuming worry and what-ifs. My belly went from bloat to full on bump before I even had made it to the 10-week mark. When I finally made an official announcement to friends, neighbors, colleagues, and yoga students, I got nearly as many “Yeah.. we all already knew” comments as congratulations. Oh, and I’ve been both ravenous for junk food and nauseous—sometimes at the same time. It’s been a rollercoaster.
I’m sharing all of this with you, of course, because I want to hit home an important point about pregnancy—especially the first trimester of pregnancy. Everyone experiences it so differently depending on life circumstances, history, body type, and so many other things. If you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all list of poses that will make you feel better in your body and your mind during pregnancy, well… I’m afraid I can’t give you that because I’m not sure it exists. All I can share with you is what feels good for me, what I remember about my first pregnancy, and what seems to work well for my prenatal yoga classes.
Already in your second trimester? See Best Yoga Poses for the Second Trimester
Need help coping with anxiety or fear around being pregnant? I’ve been there. Here’s a meditation for anxiety that helped me!
Prenatal Yoga: Yoga Poses for the First Trimester
For the tired, worn out, nauseous, or moody mama:
This one is absolutely my favorite. You can practice it through all three trimesters, and even after the baby comes to help soothe your body and mind and bring you to a more restful state.
Now that you’re officially “with child,” you have yet one more reason to get your Child’s Pose on. Need a few more? See 5 Totally Legitimate Reasons to Take Child’s Pose in Yoga Class
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
It’s never too early to start preparing the body for the marathon that is birth. This pose is a great one to start opening your hips and inner thighs, something you’ll need to do to make room for that baby’s melon when the time comes. As an added bonus, this is a super restful, rejuvenating pose. Prop up your legs, feel your chest open, and feel completely supported.
Do it anyway that feels good to you during the first trimester. Lay on your back. Sprawl out. Take up space. Sink in. Or, hell, just close your eyes and take a nap. You’re growing an entire person, for crying out loud, and your body is working SO hard even when it seems like you’re doing nothing. Rest. And if you feel even the slightest bit guilty about it remember: You’re not just taking care of you, but your baby, too.
Seated, lying down, or walking… but take time to practice simply breathing and being present for at least 5 minutes a day.
For the energetic mama:
If you feel great during your first trimester (like I did with my first), feel free to just keep practicing the poses you love. Enjoy all those poses where you’re laying flat on your back and the ones where you can be on your belly. (You might miss those in a few months.) Just make sure you aren’t pushing yourself past your pre-pregnancy edge of flexibility. Tap into your intuition and do what feels good in the moment.
One more thing … Relax!
Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of information available on practicing yoga during the first trimester. Some yoga studios even turn pregnant moms away early in their pregnancies (even from prenatal yoga classes!), telling students they need to let the pregnancy get more established before they start—or continue—a yoga practice. Not everyone will agree with me, but my feeling is that if pregnancies were SO fragile that a few gentle yoga poses could upset them, the human race wouldn’t have survived this long. Jumping from Forward Bend, or Uttanasana, to Chaturanga, while not recommended for any stage of pregnancy, isn’t going to cause a miscarriage. (My obstetrician put my mind at ease about this when I asked her if I should stop practicing or teaching yoga in one my several early appointments when I came to her frantic that I might be miscarrying.) The vast majority of miscarriages are caused by abnormalities in the genetic make up of the fetus. Worrying certainly doesn’t lessen the risk. So, try to stay calm and relaxed. (Why, hello Kettle, my name is Pot.. Trust me, I know how challenging it can be to stay calm and relaxed, but I also know how important it is for both your health and sanity.) Be kind to yourself. If a certain yoga pose feels good in your body—do it! If something feels bad, your body’s wisdom and back off. Most of all, let yourself be happy and excited for the miracle growing within.