Empowering a pain-free pregnancy and postpartum experience through yoga

Empowering a pain-free pregnancy and postpartum experience through yoga

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Magdalena Patterson is a prenatal and postpartum yoga and fitness instructor based in San Diego, CA. Her passion is sharing the knowledge, and teaching the benefits of yoga during pregnancy. She believes pregnancy is like a yoga practice in itself, as a woman naturally turns inward and connects with her body. Magdalena brings her light-hearted approach and in-depth knowledge to her prenatal yoga training. Being a mom herself, she understands the process of pregnancy and birth, and shares from her own experience, her deep meditation practice, and her extensive studies of anatomy and the biomechanics of the human body. Today, Magdalena shares easy and safe yoga tips to support a pain-free pregnancy and postpartum recovery. 

The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only and reflects the thoughts and opinions of the persons providing the information and not Needed PBC. This information should not be construed in any way as providing medical advice. If you have a health concern, you should contact your own health care practitioner.

There can be so many different aches and pains associated with pregnancy and postpartum period, and thankfully yoga is always here to help you! And it does not have to be a “one hour class” for it to be effective. A few stretches here and there will do the trick to relieve achy shoulders and back. The best thing is that you can keep this routine going postpartum, before you are ready to hit the mat for a public yoga class or workout. Read on for a simple yoga stretch routine. 

Like with anything, consistency is key. Try to set aside a few minutes every day to do these stretches, even several times a day, and you will feel a real difference. 

When I was pregnant, I was sneaking in yoga anytime I could, and it really helped with the way I felt. When I was a new mom, just a couple of weeks after having my baby, my inner yogi kept bugging me and I really wanted to move, stretch and get back on the mat. I didn’t know if it was safe to start a yoga routine, as most advice out there suggests to wait until 6 weeks postpartum. So I developed this simple stretching routine, that can be done all through pregnancy and postpartum. No more achy back and shoulders! 

Follow these easy tips for a pain-free pregnancy and postpartum. 

  1. During pregnancy, postpartum and many months that follow, yoga does not have to mean “going to a yoga class” or having a full hour for a complete practice. You can start slow, even just a couple minutes at a time. That way you can practice yoga every day, even multiple times, without being dependent on finding a prenatal yoga class, or having someone watching your baby. 
  2. Have your mat easily accessible, maybe you keep it rolled out in the living room, so you have that constant reminder to sneak those few minutes of stretches. 
  3. Whenever your baby falls asleep, put everything on hold, and get on your mat. We give everything to our new baby, and it’s ok to give a little bit back to ourselves. Doulas and midwifes call it “mothering the mother”. Newborn babies sleep a lot, so let’s take advantage of that! Keep the dishes piling up and laundry overflowing... Put yourself first, and then you’ll be able to tackle everything else with so much more strength, joy and a clear mind. 
  4. Live in yoga leggings and a soft, comfy sports bra that can double as a nursing bra. That way you’re ready for your mini- practice any time your baby naps, and we all know that’s all the time! 
  5. Start seated comfortably on your mat, maybe on a pillow or cushion, inhale, reach your arms up overhead, interlace your hands and flip your palms up. Look up and take a few breaths. Release, interlace your hands behind your lower back, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and open up your chest. Take a few breaths. Release, reach your arms up again, grab your right wrist, and take a side bend to the left. Switch sides. Then get on all fours, tabletop position, and take a few cat/cow spinal extensions. Stretch back into child’s pose and take 10 deep breaths. 
  6. Postpartum, do kegels (pelvic floor activation) while breastfeeding or while driving, especially when you’re stuck in traffic. As you breathe in, tighten your pelvic floor (the same squeezing sensation you would do if your tried to stop the flow of your urine), and gently release as you breathe out. Aim for three sets of 10 repetitions. These will feel really hard at the beginning, and that is so normal! The more you do them, the more strength you will regain in your pelvic floor (and the less urine you will leak). 
  7. Repeat shoulder stretches after each breastfeeding. No exceptions! It will make a world of difference to how your body feels, your posture, and your ability to breastfeed comfortably. 
To hear more yoga wisdom, visit and follow Magdalena @prenatalyogalj. Thank you so much for sharing, Magdalena! 
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