Most birth professionals know and encourage yoga as a practice throughout pregnancy. Practice is exactly what it says. The most benefit is gained when you actually DO yoga, practice yoga at least three times a week, but once a week is okay and everyday is great. The challenges in your yoga practice are precisely what you will benefit from when laboring and delivering your baby. Those benefits include a sense of overall well-being, confidence in your body, strength and endurance because the practice of yoga is multifaceted. It provides exercise that provides physical stretching, mental centering and awareness of the breath, relaxation and internal focus.
Yoga is great for what ails you during your pregnancy. It has been found to be helpful in relieving a plethora of common discomforts such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, insomnia, headaches and generalized anxiety. It is never too early or too late to begin a prenatal yoga class. Some women don't practice during the first trimester because of "morning sickness" ( it happens all day ) and the overwhelming fatigue of those first several weeks. And some women just aren't ready to make the public announcement by showing up at a class specifically for pregnant women.
There are many different forms of yoga but your class should be prefaced with prenatal, as in prenatal Kundalini Yoga. Bikram is not recommended because it is practiced in a very hot room. Your instructor should be certified in prenatal yoga, no matter which kind. Your instructor should be able to tell you that there are modified poses incorporated into the class that address conditions common to pregnancy, like symphysis pubis dysfunction and sciatica.
Some yoga instructors are also doulas or childbirth educators. You are hiring a prenatal yoga instructor so do not pay much mind to her helpful herbal treatments or her encouraging words about home deliveries. Her expertise should not cross medical barriers. Your provider is for that!
Your practice of yoga should make you feel better. You should feel relaxed, refreshed and renewed. You should be able to take the calm, centered, peaceful feeling home with you and be able to recall it whenever you need to. Go practice!