Natasha writes for the Focus Magazine. The following article was featured in 2008.
"Women often discover the many benefits of yoga during pregnancy and are drawn to it as a safe alternative to their usual exercise regime. If you've never practiced before it's ideal to wait until you are past the first trimester before attending a class.
However, if you're a regular yogi then it's fine to continue with your usual practice initially until your body tells you otherwise, usually once you're out of the first trimester.
Pre-natal yoga will focus on asana's or postures that ease some of the common complaints of pregnancy such as lower back ache and heartburn. Regular yoga classes may encourage circulation and help prevent fluid retention. The stretching exercises can relieve aches and pains.
Many women find that regular practice promotes a good nights rest, especially as their pregnancy becomes more advanced.
Your teacher should give you techniques to manage your labour more naturally if this is desired. Yoga is good for helping to reduce any anxiety that prospective mums may be feeling as the focus is on breathing techniques and positive visulisations that can be called upon during the birth.
By practicing yoga regularly a pregnant woman's body will become more flexible, which enables her to adapt to various positions during labour and the ligaments are more elastic, which in turn can help to reduce labour pain. Many women find that by being as active as possible during labour they have a more natural birth with less complications.
Always make sure you go a teacher who is a pre-natal specialist as most conventional yoga classes aren't ideal for pregnant women. Yoga continues to have benefits after pregnancy too. Postnatal yoga, which can be started about six weeks after the birth, strengthens abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor. It also helps you to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape faster. "