“Yoga is by far one of the best things a pregnant patient can do for themselves and their delivery,” Dr. Miller says, “It is a great stress reliever for the body and mind.”
Not sure what flow to choose? Look for Yin or other restorative yoga practices. “Slow yoga is one of the best yoga forms for pregnancy. You want daily, slow, long stretches (30-second holds or longer). This allows the joints of the hips to relax and the muscles to stretch,” explains Dr. Miller.
“Be careful to slowly settle into poses, especially for those that are not accustomed to yoga, as pregnancy relaxes your joints and ligaments, which can lead to injuries in more aggressive stretches (pigeon pose, for example). There are no concerns with any standard yoga position prior to 20 weeks pregnant,” says Dr. Miller, adding, “After 20 weeks you should modify any yoga position that has you lying directly on your stomach.”
Foam rolling is another great full-body care practice to incorporate into your routine—but remember safety first. “Foam rolling should be avoided directly on the abdomen during pregnancy, but foam rolling of the back and hips are safe,” Dr. Miller says. “In the third trimester, when foam rolling your back, be mindful that the curvature of your back has changed,” he explains. While foam rollers are generally safe, avoid percussive or massage guns. “[These tools] create volatile motions that, while low-risk for fetal injury, could seriously injure the placenta,” Dr. Miller says.
As relaxing as they may be, hot tubs, saunas, and hot yoga sessions should be avoided in all trimesters, Dr. Miller says. “First-trimester exposure to hot tubs has been linked to neural tube defects (such as spina bifida).” However, lukewarm baths can be a great pain reliever. “Your goal when taking baths should be to not increase your core temperature. Average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so tub baths should be below 98 degrees,” explains Dr. Miller. Spice up your tepid bathwater with a relaxing, sleep-inducing lavender-scented soak, such as Bath & Body Works Lavender Vanilla Luxe Bath ($19).
While there are a few common body treatments to avoid when you’re expecting (heat being the biggie), there are also many self-care practices you can enjoy, and maybe even appreciate more, for pregnancy-induced aches and pains. Here’s hoping you can fit in some TLC for your strong mom body before your baby arrives.
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