Placenta Previa and Pregnancy Yoga
Updated: Feb 25
Students who have been told that they have placenta previa often ask me about the safety of doing pregnancy yoga with this condition. With suitable adjustments and restrictions, pregnancy yoga can be safely performed by people having placenta previa.
I find it very rewarding when I am able to adapt pregnancy yoga for such students. It allows them to experience the beautiful benefits of the practice during their wonderful journey to motherhood. Here are some more details about placenta previa and how as yoga teachers and students, we can safely practice pregnancy yoga with the condition. .
Understanding Placenta Previa
Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta grows just behind the cervix and blocks the exit of the womb. This can sometimes cause complications during late pregnancy and childbirth, which may make a caesarean section necessary.
Low lying placenta is usually detected between 12 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. While it does not cause problems in most women, in about 2% of the cases, it can later result in placenta previa. In most cases, as pregnancy progresses and the uterus expands, the placenta moves out of the way and does not obstruct the mouth of the womb. This happens usually by the third trimester.
There are different grades of placenta previa. Please see the diagrams below.
Grade 1 - Low lying: the placenta is close to the cervix, but does not cover it.
Grade 2 - Marginal: the placenta is at the edge of the cervix.
Grade 3 - Partial: the placenta covers the cervix partially.
Grade 4: Complete: The placenta completely obstructs the cervix.
How Pregnancy Yoga Helps
For women with placenta previa, pregnancy yoga is invaluable as it promotes their physical and emotional well-being. Most women tend to get nervous when they hear about the condition or the increased possibility of having a caesarean section. Many only hear about it when they are told by their doctor. Although everything is explained in detail to prevent worry, there will be some amount of anxiety. Yoga calms the mind and helps these women get over worry.
Adapting Pregnancy Yoga For Women With Placenta Previa
Yoga can be adapted for would be mothers with placenta previa, but it’s important to get full information from the doctor about the position of the placenta before attempting any physical asanas or postures. Having full knowledge about the position of the placenta will help teachers determine what can and cannot be done. Whether you are able to do physical asanas or you are restricted to only pranayama and relaxation techniques, pregnancy yoga is an invaluable tool. It will help you stay calm and keep worries out.
Initially, we have to restrict the practice, but as the pregnancy progresses and if conditions get better, it may be possible to make changes and do more than what was possible before.
Here are some yoga techniques and ideas that can be considered by teachers for would be mothers who have been told that they have partial or complete placenta previa. It is also useful for people who have fears about doing physical postures during pregnancy or who have been advised by their doctors to avoid physical activity and just take rest.
Neck, shoulder and wrist limbering
Positive birthing visualisations
If placenta previa is detected halfway through the pregnancy, the option to continue doing physical postures can be a matter of choice provided care and attention is given and adjustments are made as required. It's important to note that postures that require the pelvis to open like wide-legged postures, squats and lunges should be avoided or should be suitably modified to limit and reduce the stress on the pelvic area.
During pregnancy yoga classes, the chair is an excellent tool for supporting women, especially women with conditions like placenta previa. Several options are available and a diagnosis of placenta previa should not prevent women from enjoying the wonderful benefits of pregnancy yoga.
Yoga is very beneficial during pregnancy even when you have placenta previa. If you have placenta previa and wish to benefit from yoga, please get in touch and we can work together on a one-to-one basis. I will then be able to give you the dedicated time and attention you need to experience the incredible benefits of pregnancy yoga.
Bliss Baby Yoga: https://www.blissbabyyoga.com/
BWY: British Wheel of Yoga https://www.bwy.org.uk/
Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/