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My pre-natal yoga experience

12 Mar

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I’ve practiced yoga for almost 8 years now and always planned to continue when I became pregnant. But the truth is, I hated prenatal yoga in the beginning. I missed the intensity of “real” yoga! I actually did one heated class early in my pregnancy after getting my doctor’s OK, but immediately felt that it was too much. It was early in my first trimester and the nausea was unbearable in the heated class setting. I continued on with pre-natal classes, supplementing at home with pre-natal pilates DVDs which I absolutely adored, but didn’t begin to really appreciate my pre-natal classes until I started my third trimester and really started to get uncomfortable and achey.

Which brings me to this past week. I’m 38 weeks today and had two of the most incredible pre-natal yoga classes ever, just in the last week. We focused on really restorative, relaxing poses in Lara’s class and I had one of the best experiences in shivasana that I’ve had throughout my pregnancy…maybe even ever. I also received some tips for guided meditation and music to check out on Spotify that I’ll share at the end of my post.

In Bec’s class which was just three students large today, we were able to get really hands-on attention and focus on exactly what we needed. I mentioned the tightness in my pelvis, hips and the knot in my shoulder and left the class feeling so much looser. I also have a new favorite move for dealing with those knots in my shoulders and back:

Yoga move to relieve knots
1. Laying on your back, place a block under your upper mid-back.
2. With hands in prayer pose, elbows extended out, rest hands between eyes.
3. Slowly lift your pelvis up off the floor.
4. Adjust, wiggle and massage the knotted area as needed.

I think the most beneficial aspect of regular yoga practice is breath awareness. It’s amazing how my breath aligns itself to postures automatically. So for newly pregnant women who haven’t practiced, absolutely start pre-natal classes early. But for more seasoned yoga practitioners, I’d recommend a different approach. I would have practiced on my own at home even more than I did in the beginning to encourage continued muscle development and toning as well as the meditative benefits of just breathing in a meditative way. I also would have been more proactive about seeking out really seasoned instructors with children, who know about the physiology of pregnancy. Stretching and relaxing yoga is great, but too many of my early pre-natal classes felt like a waste of my time when I should have been building muscle strength and exploring what was possible as my body changed and my belly really started to develop.

Now, at 38 weeks, I look forward to class and leave the studio feeling incredibly centered and calm. And as I prepare myself mentally for labor, I’ve really enjoyed working through guided meditations and playing the same music we use in class to help guide my breathing while I’m at home. If you have Spotify, check out Deuter’s Buddha Nature album and Michelle’s Young’s Hipnobirthing playlist. I’ve been loving them lately.

Weekly Update: 35 Weeks

25 Feb

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Date: February 19

How far along: 35 Weeks

Baby’s size: Honeydew Melon
Baby girl should be over 18 inches long and tipping the scales at 5 1/4 pounds, according to my baby books.

Symptoms: Noticeably more bursts of energy and exhaustion; some heartburn; very new dull, aching lower back pain; and lower abdomen pain, cramping and tightness. It feel like everything has dropped a bit and my belly feels SO tight. I joked last week that the baby was punching me in the cervix a lot, but the cervical pressure is real. If I lay too flat on my back, I have trouble catching my breath, too.

Sleep: Had been great until this week. I’d been regularly waking early at 4:30 or so from baby girl’s kicks and jabs or from anxiety over all the to do’s and preparations for Baby Girl’s arrival, but lately, the weight of her in my belly as I lay on my side hurts my hip joints SO much that I end up waking every time I need to turn. Brian has been great, helping me roll and always giving me a hand when I can’t quite get out of bed on my own!

Wearing: yoga pants and my pre-pregnancy long sleeve tops (which barely clear the bottom of my belly now!) over long maternity tanks.

Loving: Cheerios with strawberries and bananas

Hating: It is such a challenge to put on socks or winter boots, bend over to pick anything up, sit comfortably upright in a chair instead of slightly angled or reclined back, or stand or walk for any extended period of time. I’m so adapted to these physical limitations at this point that I almost can’t even imagine how my body used to be able to bend and twist!

Missing: Feeling comfortable when I’m not laying down. Walking and sitting for any extended period of time really weighs on my joints. Everything feels like it’s preparing for delivery!

Movement: Baby girl is definitely running out of space. I feel less “kicking/punching” and more whole body rolling and shifting. Hiccups at night are common still, too. Feeling her moving has been especially awesome lately, maybe because I know that it’s coming to an end soon and I’ll really miss her wiggles and squirms. Sometimes I’ll lay down for 10 minutes in the middle of the day just so I can focus on feeling her moving around in there. It’s so fun to gently nudge back when she’s rolling around and hilarious when she nudges back. I play music for her a lot too, especially at night before bed. She’s always very active as soon as I get into bed which is fun for Brian and I, but probably doesn’t bode well for her sleep schedule in the future.

Labor Signs: The aching lower back and lower abdominal cramping I’ve been experiencing this week are all signs that things are progressing as they should according to my doctor.

Health + Wellness: Just taking my vitamins and trying to keep myself moving around as much as possible, if at a slower pace.

What I’m looking forward to:
We are both just so excited. I want the next few weeks to pass as quickly as possible because I can’t wait to finally meet her. I know I’m in the homestretch and am trying to enjoy it, napping or meeting up with friends for brunch when I can, but the excitement is overwhelming. I still need to finish the nursery and get her clothes organized and put away, but it’s all coming along.

Best moments this week:
Our sonogram last Friday was awesome. It was a relief to see baby girl on-screen and hear that she is growing and developing perfectly and that my uterus and placenta all look great. She’s head down, her heartbeat is strong, and she has a ton of hair! In the sonogram pictures we were given, she looks a LOT like Brian when he was a baby! We definitely see a resemblance through the eyes, nose and forehead. We know we’re just going off a sonogram and she has more developing to do, but it was so crazy that it was so pronounced. To my relief, we were told that the two random bleeding episodes I had in late December and late January don’t appear related to any issues with the pregnancy and were likely popped blood vessels outside the cervix — phew. I feel like I can relax a tiny bit finally.

Triple Berry Muffins

24 Feb

1/12/15 — Out of nowhere, I got the most random craving for triple berry muffins. I’ve been on a major fruit smoothie and Greek yogurt kick lately, so I was excited to try a few healthier swaps in this recipe with the flour and butter. The result is a slightly denser muffin, which was perfect on such a dreary, rainy day. They were so good I ate two four, searing hot, straight from the muffin tin!

Triple Berry Muffins

Yield: 18 muffins

Healthier Version: Sub 1/2 flour for whole wheat, sub butter with 3/4 cup applesauce + ¼ cup oil or ½ cup smart balance and ½ cup Greek yogurt; reduce sugar to 1 cup

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup butter or 1 cup margarine, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries*
1/2 cup fresh raspberry*
1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries*

*Can substitute berries for 2 cups frozen (leave frozen)

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.
2. In another bowl beat the eggs,milk and butter, stir into the dry ingredients,just until moist and fold in berries.
3. Fill greased or paper lined muffin pans 3/4 full.
4. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool for 5 minutes.
6. Remove from Pan to a wire rack.
7. Dust with powdered sugar