The Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga During Pregnancy

MyBump2Baby Expert Podcast


The benefits of Pregnancy Yoga
  • The Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga During Pregnancy

Today we speak to Clare Maddalena founder of LushTums all about the benefits of Pregnancy Yoga. Clare answers questions that many expectant parents have around pregnancy yoga including the benefits. Clare tells us all about safety around pregnancy yoga, when you should start pregnancy yoga, when you should stop doing pregnancy yoga, using pregnancy yoga during labour and the benefits of pregnancy yoga.

Here are LushTums Social Links:

You can find local pregnancy relaxation classes here:


Carla: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert Podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK to answer your questions on everything, pregnancy to preschool. the day I am speaking to the founder of LushTums Clare Maddalena. And today we are going to be talking all about pregnancy yoga.

[00:00:50] Hello everybody. And welcome to my book to baby expert podcast. Today I am joined by the founder of LushTums I’m Claire Maddalena. And today we’re going to be talking all about pregnancy yoga. So hello, Clare. 

Clare: [00:01:08] Hi, Carla. How are you doing? 

Carla: [00:01:09] I’m very well, thank you. How are you? 

Clare: [00:01:12] I’m very well too. Thanks for having me on your show.

Carla: [00:01:15] Oh, you’re very welcome. I’m looking forward to hearing all about pregnancy yoga. Cause I know parents have a lot, well, expectant parents have a lot of questions around this, so let’s get started by just asking. Is pregnancy yoga safe for all pregnant ladies then? 

Clare: [00:01:31] Well pregnancy, I can say for all pregnant ladies who are pretty healthy, um, if you’ve got lots of stuff going on, um, then you probably would need to check with your doctor or your healthcare specialist if it was okay for you. Um, but kind of most kind of common pregnancy elements that we see are in the realms of things like. When women have got sciatica or pelvic girdle, pain, heartburn, backache, headaches, mental stresses, and tensions. That’s the kind of, um, those are all the kinds of things we can and help with. So if they’re reasonably healthy with those common pregnancy aliments, then pregnancy yoga will be absolutely brilliant for them.

Carla: [00:02:12] Amazing. Yes, I did pregnancy yoga. And I thought it was fantastic actually. Yeah. When should a pregnant lady start pregnancy yoga then?

Clare: [00:02:23] So if you’ve had a yoga background or I would say like a movement and exercise background, and you really know your body very well, then when you get pregnant, you’re going to want to carry on with some kind of movement. So for those women that are already experienced, it’s absolutely fine to change their routine and join a pregnancy yoga class. Um, but for people who have never done any yoga and aren’t particularly active, don’t do much exercise. If this was going to be brand new to them, then the recommendation would be to wait until their second trimester, which is actually about 15, 16 weeks.

[00:02:59] When we start feeling the symptoms of fatigue or nausea going. Um, lots of people think you’re at your second trimester at 12 weeks when you go and have your 12 week scan, but actually you can still feel a bit gross for another few weeks after that. So your kind of real second trimester doesn’t really start at about 16 weeks. So that would be the recommendation. If you were really completely new to it. 

Carla: [00:03:23] That’s great. So, so how long would someone do pregnancy yoga for and when would you be advised to stop pregnancy yoga then?

Clare: [00:03:31] Well, I just taught my class tonight and I’ve got a lady in my class. Who’s just turned 40 weeks. Um, and I very often have people coming at 40 weeks plus 10 days, 40 weeks plus 12 days. So basically they can come to the class as long as they’re not actually, in labor. Although saying that I did have a lady quite recently who started the class and we always do a lovely check in and a hello circle, to see how everyone’s doing. And she said that she was having little twinges all day. So she was obviously in a bit of early labor and wanting to do the moves and the breathing and the relaxation, just to kind of top up everything before she went full throttle into labor. So you can actually do it right up to that moment. 

Carla: [00:04:12] That’s amazing. That’s so cool. So pregnancy yoga, can it help with labor then? 

Clare: [00:04:19] Yeah, absolutely. So, um, it can help in lots of different ways. So I’ll try and break it down and keep it really simple. Um, essentially what we teach are key ways to teach women how to breathe really properly, um, how to move in useful positions that can help ease. Ease the ease, the pains, I suppose, and help the baby get into a good position and also how to relax, so relaxing their mind. So they’re not going to get all worried and stressed out and in the throws of labor. Um, so they’re really, really important. So if I kind of break this down a little bit more, the movements can really help get the baby into a good position. So that’s called optimal foetal position. It’s usually with their heads down, obviously, um, and their backs towards mummy’s belly button. So all the all fours poses that we do in class, you know, in the third trimester, you’re helping your baby get into that optimal foetal position. And then some of the movements that might involve lovely circles in all fours, .Women can use that when they’re in labor when they’re having contractions. Um, I don’t know if you remember, but when you have a contraction, if you’re lying completely, still, it is then the only thing you can think about and it makes your perception of the pain. It’s like turning up the dial. Whereas, if you can move and kind of breathe properly, maybe make certain noises and you kind of get into a bit of a rhythm, with your body. And it, it really turns that dial down. So your perception of the pain definitely lessens. So we teach them how to kind of move and wiggle and groove in lots of different positions to help with that with those sensations. And then a really key thing that they love from the yoga is breathing. Um, and I think that’s really important in pregnancy because we sort of run out of space.

[00:06:05] We feel like our lungs are squashed and we’ve only got a little bit of room to breathe. So a lot of people start to breathe short, shallow breaths. And really that’s associated with kind of panic when you look at our nervous systems. So what we want to do is bringing a sense of calm. So if we can encourage and teach women to breathe, deep belly breaths, so really breathing into the bump, taking slow, deep breaths in and out, you’re going to start sending calming signals around the nervous system. And really, thats gonna be good, cause it will keep adrenaline and cortisol at bay. Which will kick in if we get panicked and frightened, it’s our flight fright freeze system, and we want to keep it those hormones at bay because they’re  antagonistic to oxytocin. And as you know, oxytocin is that lovely love hormone. And we need that to be surging through the body. To keep our contractions coming and keep everything moving at a good pace. We’ll keep labor happening. Um, and we need to keep breathing deeply to help that process alone. The other thing with the breath is, um, is almost like a fuel for the uterus and the uterus, which is trying to squash itself small with every contraction. Hence. Why it’s called contraction. It’s opening up and dilating at the cervix, but the top part of the uterus is squashing itself, smaller and smaller. So it’s actually designed to help push the baby out. Um, but because it’s a muscle and it’s doing this big job, it needs oxygen to work properly. So just if you were going for a big run, Um, if you don’t breathe properly, you’re going to get a stitch and lactic acid, and that’s going to be ouchy and painful and you have to kind of stop and read slow deep breaths.

[00:07:45] Um, if you think of your uterus as a muscle, like your running muscles, it needs oxygen and exactly the same way to function at its most optimum. So one of the best pain relief tips and, um, kind of fuel for the whole process that women can do is learn how to do this amazing birth breathing. Where they’re breathing slow, deep breaths into their belly. Um, and just keep it, keeping their body supplied with oxygen and also keeping them calm, um, and keeping  the oxytocin nice and high. So they’re not getting stressed out or, or panicked. 

Carla: [00:08:17] That’s great. Yes. So, so from what you’ve said there, I imagine it could also help with C-sections as well, because I know that’s quite a nervous time for people when they go for a C section. So would you kind of still encourage people that all go in for C-sections to come to pregnant yoga?

Clare: [00:08:35] Yeah, absolutely. I’ve always got people in my classes that for whatever reason that’s going on for them have maybe elected to have a cesarian.  And of course, you’re going to get, um, you know, a chunk of people that come to your classes that are planning a vaginal birth. And then for whatever reason, Things take a different turn and they end up having a C-section and I would absolutely say that the breathing practices and the mindfulness practices so that you can stay nice and calm, um, when challenges or different events rise, um, can absolutely stand you in brilliant stead for preparing for the C-section. You know, if you’re having an elective one, you usually probably go in in the morning and there’s a bit of time while you’re waiting and people come in and go and tell you what’s going to go on and you fill in some forms and there’s always like a chunk of time. Um, and it’s great. If you can do some breathing and use some of the tools that we’ve taught you, so you can stay nice and calm and again, get that oxytocin really high. So that even though the babies that are coming out via C-section. They’re coming out with lots of oxytocin in their little systems, because that’s the love hormone. And, you know, not to put too fine a point on it, but it took a bit of that oxytocin love hormone to get the babies in there in the first place. So it’s nice that it, you know, we’ve got the oxytocin there for when they come out. Um, and there’s lots of great science about oxytocin. Michelo Don is a famous French obstetrician. If anyone’s interested, you can read a lot oxytocin. So if you can stay calm with these breathing techniques, when you’re going for your cesarian  and get your babies born with lots of lovely oxytocin, and then you welcome them with that joy rather than with anxiety, um, you’re kind of setting a lovely temperature moving forward, um, for that baby.

Carla: [00:10:26] That’s fantastic because I think the thing is with a lot of us, um, a lot of people listening, if they’ve been, had been through all this before, sometimes it doesn’t all go to plan. So it’s good to have, um, that relaxation technique that, you know, if things don’t go to plan and you can just breathe through it and stay calm no matter what happens.

Clare: [00:10:47] Yeah, absolutely. So in our classes, even though, um, you know, very common and you’ll see on lots of websites and things now make a birth plan in our classes, we try to unravel that a little bit and we actually say, you know, scrap the birth plan, make a birth wish-list. Because if you have a plan, you’re going to get really attached to some things happening like ABC and you get a bit rigid about it. Whereas we know that we’re planning for an unpredictable event here and it can go in so many different directions, um, that we need to understand what all these things might happen are. The pros and cons around it, so that actually we can make a really informed choice in the moment. So it’s a really good idea to have like a wish-list of your ideal scenario, a what that might entail. And then really think about other scenarios. It might happen. And do  like three or four wish lists? So you’ve really covered the thinking on what might happen if you are planning a vaginal birth and then things changed to a cesarian. What might that look like and what might your choices be and what would you rather have happen?

[00:11:50] Um, interestingly, we just had one of our mums. She was planning an electives cesarian. But then went into spontaneous labor and then kind of halfway through that they were saying to her, well, do you want to carry on?  Would you like to have a vaginal birth or would you like to go back to the cesarian route? And so she had like almost reversed decisions to make, so she was using all the breathing and all the movements, obviously in labor, but then also just to stay calm and then she, then she chose actually, I’m going to stick with my original plan. I’m going to go for the cesarian. And  just kept doing the breathing. Kept thinking of her safe space that we talk about in our relaxations and kept talking to her baby. So, you know, in her minds and even out loud, just talking to the baby. Okay, baby. You know, we thought you might be coming out vaginally for a bit, but actually you’re coming out from my tummy and we’re going to meet you soon and, we can’t wait. And you just keep, keep narrating it through. And that’s another great technique that you can do when you’re approaching a cesarian. So yeah, it’s all good prep. Um, and even if you’re definitely having an elective cesarean, I’d still say do pregnancy yoga, because it’ll keep you fit and strong throughout, and then that will help you bounce back after. Because when you’ve had a cesarean you’ve got quite a big recovery, probably more than if you’ve had a vaginal birth. You know you have had abdominal surgery that has to really repair. Um, so if you can get a bit fit and strong beforehand through the classes, then that can really help you afterwards kind of regain your strength and your fitness and your mobility and recover essentially, um, a bit quicker afterwards.

Carla: [00:13:26] That’s great. And that wish-list is such a good idea because I think , as an expectant parent, we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves and it’s like, I won’t do this. I will do that. But then in the moment you might feel differently and you don’t want to kind of do something against what you said, but your mind has changed and that’s okay. So I think that wish-list idea is just such a good idea. I love that.

Clare: [00:13:50] Oh thank you and I think it’s really okay for women to know it’s okay to change your minds. You know, there’s a lot of pressure on women in society to be all sorts of women and to be all sorts of pregnant women. And then to be all sorts of, of mother it’s so all on a pedestal and actually we are all different we are all unique. We’ve all had all our own experiences and we’re all going to make totally different decisions. What’s right for one person, isn’t going to be such a great idea for someone else. So women supporting other women, friends, supporting other friends. We need to be careful of our language and, you know, be supportive, not be judgemental, not compare, um, because we’ve no idea what that journey’s been like for that other person.

[00:14:32] And why they’ve made particular decisions to do X, Y or Z. Our ethos, our mantra for our business is that everything has a place. Um, so however your births unfold, whatever decisions you make, it is right for you in that moment. And that’s a big yoga, um, kind of philosophical aspect. You know if you’re really coming from your heart and you’re listening to your truth, change your mind. If that feels right for you in that moment, that is the right decision for you and your baby. 

Carla: [00:14:59] I love that because I think it’s so easy to listen to, God I’m using this as an example, but Susan down the road, who says, I’m not going for any pain relief, and then you, then you start thinking, am I a bad mum because I want too and stuff. So I think you’ve very right there. It’s just a case of doing what feels right for you. Even in that moment, if you change your mind or, you know, it, it’s fine. So absolutely. I love that. Um, so Clare just to summarise as well at the end. What, what are the benefits then of pregnancy yoga as a whole then? 

Clare: [00:15:30] So there’s so many benefits. So first off you’re going to be moving. So that’s going to be all about fitness, strength and mobility. Um, we can help with lots of pregnancy aliments, like I mentioned. So exhaustion, heartburn, constipation, achy backs, swollen ankles, indigestion, insomnia. Anxiety stress, mental pressures, all of that stuff. There’s so many yoga practices that we can do that it can help alleviate that. So people can just be more comfortable, more calm and enjoy pregnancy as it progresses. Um, then every class that we offer will always teach how to do, how to move and how to be relaxed for labor and birth. However it unfolds. So you’re learning key tools to help you for that big day. Um, and then of course, you’ve got the social element, haven’t you? So you’ve got this chance to meet other lovely women and in the same boat, as you do, probably within a few months of each other. And that network of support is really, really important. I think our societies are designed that we live in our little houses kind of on our own and actually the old saying it takes a village to raise a child is really true. So if you have got some family up the road, friends around the corner, parent friends that you’ve just made through your yoga class, you’re going to feel like you’ve got a network of support and people to call on when you’ve had that rubbish night sleep, or you just need someone to come and hold the baby. So you can just have that quick shower, um, you know, take as much support and help cause you can. And I think having those friends from the group, um, you know, they can become friends for life. So I think that’s really important. And also, you know, these women are coming to this class maybe once or twice a week. It’s sometimes it feels like. The only time that they’re asked how are you doing, you know, they’re so busy offering and giving to everyone in their lives, their families, their friends, their jobs, that this is the one hour or two a week where they actually pay attention to themselves. And it’s about self care and self worth.

[00:17:28] And, um, you know, just remembering that they’re even pregnant, if they’ve had a really busy week and having someone listen to them, um, and acknowledge where they’re at in the moment is a massive. Um, it’s a massive thing, you know, I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that when someone’s really heard you, when you’ve been feeling maybe low or things are difficult. You feel much better just from sharing it. So I think there’s all these benefits that you can get from it.

Carla: [00:17:54] Yeah. I think as well, just to hear someone be like, Oh, I feel like that too. Or, yeah I felt like that but  we did this and this helped. It’s just, it’s just, it’s speaking to people in the same scenario and just getting them too. You know, they understand where you’re at because they’re at the same situation as well. So I, I know exactly what you mean. So, so where can people find your classes and tell us a bit more about your classes too, if you don’t mind. 

Clare: [00:18:23] Oh thank you. So we are called LushTums. Um, I set up LushTums back in 2007, just after I had my first son. Um, I’ve been teaching yoga since 2003 and I realised that yoga for pregnancy and postnatally, um, is really important. And then I started training, amazing women from all over the country. And I’ve been doing that since 2007. So now we have about 30 teachers all over the place. Um, teaching pregnancy, yoga, postnatal, yoga, yoga for mums. So however old your kids are. It’s really good to do some work on your pelvic floor. And we also offer antenatal education classes. Um, so people can find all that on our website, which is just We’re on Facebook and Instagram, of course. Um, and we try and just create a lovely community of mums and mums to be.

[00:19:20] Uh, so good resource of information. We’ve got loads of great blogs. We’ve got some videos on YouTube, so people want to just try some stuff at home, they can. And then when they want to actually come to a class, they can connect in, in their local area with their nearest teacher. Cause the idea is, is that you’re going to make some friends through this as well, you know, um, and hopefully, you know, uh, you know, stand yourself in good stead to enjoy pregnancy and prepare for birth and life as a new mum.

Carla: [00:19:47] How exciting. Yes. That sounds amazing. That sounds brilliant Clare. So, so what we’ll do is we’ll put all the links to, um, Claire and LushTums in social media, in the show notes. Sorry. So you’ll be able to find her there. So thank you so much for your time today, Claire. 

Clare: [00:20:04] Thank you, Carla, it’s been really lovely to chat. And just one last thing that we’re a big advocate of is supporting women with their work life balance. So most of the women I’ve trained, never did yoga before, but they’ve come on our training and I’ve taken them through a real journey to become expert teachers so that they actually can have a career where they can. Bring up their own children and teach all these lovely pregnancy yoga classes and have that work life balance that I so cherish and love. So if anyone out there is listening thinks this could be a direction for them, or they’re cool to work and support with pregnant women or new mums. We’d love to hear from you and help take you on that journey. Get you trained up and help get you set up in your areas would be lovely to expand our network of wonderful teachers. 

Carla: [00:20:50] Fantastic yeah the more the merrier I say for pregnancy yoga, it sounds absolutely brilliant. So yes. Thank you so much, Claire. 

Clare: [00:20:58] You’re so welcome, Carla, it’s been really fun to chat to you and if you, any of your listeners have got any questions, um, I think you’re going to put my contact details on the show notes, so feel free to reach out and get in touch. Really happy to help. 

Carla: [00:21:10] Brilliant. Thank you very much. Speak to you. 

Clare: [00:21:13] Cheers. Bye.  

Carla: [00:21:18] Thank you for listening to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast. If you would like to find help and support from experts in your local area, head over to and you will also be able to find local pregnancy to preschool groups, classes, businesses, and services in your local area.

[00:21:52] This podcast is sponsored by My Bump 2 Baby family protection and legal directory. Being a parent is such a minefield. It’s so difficult deciding who to select when it comes to financial advice or family law solicitors. My Bump 2 Baby works with one trusted financial advisor and one trusted family law, solicitor in each town throughout the whole of the UK to find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over

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