Pregnancy Blog: 9 Weeks

9 Weeks Pregnant
Holy nausea!  I’ve never had a queasy stomach or an easy gag reflex.  Now, just being alive makes me want to barf.  I was in the grocery store the other day and had to avert my eyes as I walked by the vegetable section.  I could feel the purple cabbage staring at me.

As for the yoga, I am down to practicing 2-3 times a week (from 5-7 classes/week).  I am just too tired.  The postures feel good, but I am exhausted.  It’s always a battle between go-to-class and take-a-nap.  I’ve taken to walking the other days of the week.  I must admit that I always feel better after I exercise.   I’m starting to think I may feel better if I get back to a daily practice.  Even just getting outside and starting to walk helps to ease the nausea.  The days that I’ve tried just staying home and taking a nap, I feel like garbage by 5 pm.  Plus, the pregnancy is still under wraps.  I had to sit out of a couple of postures in class the other day and everyone was asking what was wrong and was I sick.

Now I know first-hand why we don’t recommend starting a Bikram practice in the first trimester.  It’s too much to add on to all of the physical and hormonal changes.  A woman who wrote one of my pregnancy books calls morning sickness Progesterone Poisoning.  I think anyone who started at this time in the pregnancy would be scared away, not because of the yoga, but because your body feels horrible at this stage.

The best part of class are the backbends.  My stomach is in knots all day from the nausea, and getting to stretch my abdomen and release all of that tension feels great.  I could sleep in Savasana at the end for about a half an hour.

The one posture I have been enjoying the most is Standing Head-to-Knee.  I am gobbling up as much of it as I can get because I know that in a few weeks I won’t be able to do it again for a long time.

It’s been a big learning experience to have to sit down or even leave the room after this long practicing.  It’s given me a good reminder of what it feels like to be new to the practice.  There are times that I feel tired and think, I can’t hold Awkward the whole time.  Then I think, I have the muscle strength to do this and I realize how mental so much of this class can be.

We heard the heartbeat this week for the first time.  What an awesome experience!  Now I really don’t care who finds out I am pregnant.  I know there’s a baby in there that’s alive and kicking.  It was 170 beats per minute.  It should slow to 110 bpm by the birth.

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Pregnancy Blog: Five Weeks

My First Post
I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks.  Naturally, many pregnant women have concerns about yoga and Bikram during pregnancy.  I hope that this web log will be of assistance in helping you to make educated decisions about exercise during yours. At the studio, we’ve had several women in low-risk pregnancies have their doctors tell them that they could not practice Bikram while pregnant, with little information on the classes.  Please take the concerns of your physician or midwife seriously.  Women with high-risk pregnancies must first obtain a doctor’s note to participate in classes at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth.

Many doctors, however, incorrectly assume that practicing in a hot room is akin to being in a sauna or Jacuzzi and that is where their concern develops.  Both a sauna and a Jacuzzi are much hotter than a Bikram Yoga class.  The biggest difference is the inability for the body to cool itself when in a sauna or Jacuzzi.  Sweat (evapotranspiration) and moving air (convection) are the cooling mechanisms for a practicing yogi.  Neither of these are existent in a Jacuzzi and only one (sweat) in a sauna where the air is heated up to 40 degrees hotter than a Bikram class.

Studies conducted in Los Angeles (with non-pregnant students) and Northampton, Massachusetts (with pregnant students only) have found that temperature change in a Bikram yogi is negligible during class (average 0.6 degree temperature change).  Most physicians recommend that a pregnant woman keep her temperature below 102 degrees; this is well-below that range.  Please note that exercising outdoors in the summer increases the internal temperature nearly twice that much.

As a healthy woman with a low-risk pregnancy, neither the yoga nor the heat should be cause for fear.  With that in mind, you should NEVER practice Bikram Yoga pregnant without first informing and consulting with your teacher.  There are modifications to all postures that compress the abdomen, aorta, and diaphragm or exert too much pressure on the perineum and pelvis.

Armed with the correct modifications for pregnancy, the next concerns of a pregnant woman should be nutrition, hydration and exhaustion.  The average woman burns approximately 330 calories during a Bikram Yoga class.  A pregnant woman’s metabolism is much higher, so she may burn even more.  Be sure to eat high quality meals to replace the lost calories and minerals.  It is also advisable for the pregnant woman to eat (at least a small snack) about an hour prior to class.

Proper hydration is critical during gestation to maintain amniotic fluid levels, increase blood volume and ensure proper function of the kidneys.  Be sure to drink water before, during and after class.  At least an additional liter of water per day is recommended when practicing.  Stop and sip water during class whenever you need it.

Finally, listen carefully to your body regarding your limits.  Especially in the first trimester, you may find yourself more tired or lose control of your breath more easily.  Listen to the signs to slow down and do so immediately.  Don’t be surprised if your practice changes dramatically in the first trimester even though your belly is still small.  There are an incredible amount of changes occurring (increase in uterine muscle, development of an additional two liters of blood, roller coaster hormone changes and more) in the first twelve weeks.  Sit down, take a break, have a drink or even leave the room when you need.