Can I train Acroyoga when I am pregnant?
We often get the question from women whether they can train Acroyoga while being pregnant.
There is not one right answer. Every woman has her own story according to health, strength and comfort during the pregnancy.
We would like to share our personal stories with you.
My son, David, is now 13 years old and I started Acroyoga 10 years ago, I did not yet train Acroyoga when I was pregnant. When I got pregnant, I trained capoeira three times a week. And I kept on training during my pregnancy. I did like 80 % of my normal level in intensity, and I did not do any new difficult exercises. I really enjoyed the upside down. Headstand was a relief. I always told my training partners that I was pregnant and I avoided beginners. Normally I love training also with beginners, but beginners are the most dangerous as they sometimes lose control and fall. Skiing is always the most dangerous on the beginner’s slope… I remember that I did a capoeira performance at the central park in Copenhagen when I was 8 months pregnant and my boyfriend saw me running around, doing capoeira with my big huge belly, and he told me, that now it was enough, it was also his son. So I stopped training in the roda (capoeira gatherings), but continued doing yoga, swimming and walking.
Since 2004 I have been doing acrobatics, I love both basing & flying and I used to teach lots of classes and workshops. Since 2012 I have tried getting pregnant. I had always imagined myself doing all these impressive acrobatics and AcroYoga tricks with a huge belly, being super sporty, strong and fit while pregnant! But then I didn’t get pregnant… after several years trying naturally, I did the first time IVF-ICSI fertility treatment in 2016. I kept training during the treatment and I even did an acrobatics teacher training while being on hormones.. and ooh that was mentally and physically so heavy… Unfortunately the IVF didn’t work and we had to do a second round of IVF.. Also that time I kept training acrobatics and teaching lots of Acroyoga but I took it easier, I didn’t base too much and after placing back an embryo I wouldn’t do any inversions or lifting people (in yoga philosophy its advised not to do inversions in first trimester of pregnancy). During and after the third round of IVF I did even less, I stopped doing high tricks and I only based in between the first day of my cycle and my ovulation.. Because with every failed attempt I questioned more and more why the fertility treatment didn’t work.. maybe it was that big jump? or was it because I based too much, the handstand, or the deep twist that messed up the nesting of the embryo..? By the time I tried getting pregnant with a donor, by IUI (intrauterine insemination) treatments (nine tries), a fourth time IVF I stopped doing acroyoga altogether..
And then by total surprise after all this trying, I got pregnant naturally! To start now again with acroyoga while pregnant is not a priority for me now. I might do a super basic trick (with spotters close by) for fun (as you see in the photo), but it doesn’t feel safe for me now to start training again. Acroyoga will always be part of me even though I am not doing any now and I can go back to training after giving birth.
I started practicing AcroYoga in 2005 and met my now-husband and father of my children through mutual AcroYoga friends in 2010. We trained AcroYoga together and learned a lot about communication in those early years together. I have taught yoga, mommy & me yoga, family yoga since 2005, and always imagined (as Esther did) of practicing with a lovely big belly and traveling to teach with the baby afterward while the community helped take care of our little one.
We got pregnant easily, when we were ready, but had a couple miscarriages. I was so grateful for this path of practice and teaching during those periods of loss and recovery. I also started practicing more restorative yoga, meditation and yoga nidra during those hard times. Thai Yoga Massage has consistently been a sweet way that my partner and I have been able to connect, relax and move together throughout it all.
We finally got pregnant with our first child and I experienced a lot of nausea, fatigue and discomfort. I stopped practicing and teaching during the second trimester with him because I felt that I was already in partnership– all the time! After we gave birth, I started back with a postnatal physical therapist to identify what my unique recovery needs were and created a fourth trimester plan to get moving together safely. I started practicing AcroYoga with my baby around three months, and really enjoyed exploring my changed body’s ability and increased strength when practicing with adults! I love being the adult playing on the playground, rolling around with my children and continuing to learn how my body can be a jungle gym. These are the elements that brought me to AcroYoga and continue to inspire my daily life.
Here is Deven’s advice:
- Pregnancy is not the time to start a new practice, unless it is prenatal yoga which is designed for pregnancy and taught by highly trained teachers.
- Walk everyday! Walk long, slow, steady; walk up, walk down; then walk some more!
- Gentle weight training is a great compliment to the relaxing hormones and changes in the body as you prepare.
Here is Tatjana’s and Esthers advice to you if you are pregnant and are wondering, if you can train Acroyoga.
- Most importantly, always listen to your body and trust your own judgment first.
- Keep moving. It is good for you to have a strong body when you are going to give birth, so find ways you feel comfortable to move. Maybe go for a walk, yoga, dance or swim.
- In the first trimester of the pregnancy the embryo is very fragile, so be very gentle, do not carry heavy things or people and move slowly and softly. In yoga philosophy it is advised to not do inversions in the first trimester.
- When you are pregnant it’s the time to prepare your body for big change, it’s not really the best time to try all kinds of new sports and moves. If you haven’t done any acroyoga before maybe it is better to wait until after giving birth to start practicing. If you are already an acroyogi you can continue, if that feels right to you, but take it easy.
- Enjoy movements that you feel are safe to do. Do not try dangerous moves or new moves that you do not control.
- Train only with people that have a confirmed level. Beginners might lose control faster and fall on you or drop you.
- Inform your training partner that you are pregnant, so that they can take care of you and decide whether they want to take the responsibility to train with a pregnant person.
- Include the other parent to your child in your decisions, so that this person can support you and feels safe about your training.
We hope that this advice can help you to make your decisions and also inspire you to continue to move during pregnancy in an adapted manner that keeps you strong and also provides safety for your child.
And of course, join us later for the Family Acroyoga classes, when you and your child is ready.
Love and light
Tatjana t’Felt, Esther Hertog and Deven Sisler