Julie Hemmings yoga teacher sat in yoga pose with hands to heart pose

Pregnancy Yoga and its Benefits: A Chat with Julie Hemmings

We work with a small number of small businesses close to our studio in rural Staffordshire, where we have a shared passion for looking after mums- and dads-to-be as they get started on their parenting adventure! Julie Hemmings of Mama Birth & Baby is part of our network.

Julie has been teaching pregnancy yoga and birth preparation classes for many years and has worked with hundreds of couples in that time, helping them prepare for the birth of their baby. We asked her to tell us a little bit more about pregnancy yoga.

Why did you start teaching pregnancy yoga?

It was actually a complete accident! I was asked to cover an ante-natal and post-natal well-being programme for SureStart in Balsall Heath back in 2003. After 6 months there, I realised that I had developed a passion for working with pregnant women, and afterwards when they returned with their babies. So I got myself fully trained, and the rest is history.

Why is yoga so beneficial in pregnancy?

As well as being a practical preparation for labour, and providing a gentle exercise regime, some of the common conditions of pregnancy may also be improved through regular practice of ante- yoga, such as oedema or swelling, breathlessness, varicose veins, lower back pain, symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and heartburn. It can even help to turn breech babies.

Having taught these classes originally at the Maternity Unit of the Victoria Hospital in Lichfield (now Samuel Johnson), I learned so much about natural birth from the wonderful midwives, and I love to share all these helpful techniques with the Mums in the yoga classes.

Why is pregnancy yoga different from other forms of yoga?

Pregnancy, or Pre-Natal Yoga is a specialised yoga class for pregnant women. The physical postures (asanas) are modified from classical yoga, and some unique poses and movements are included which you won’t find in a regular class. There are some classical breathing techniques plus some very important Birthing Breaths. The classes follow the same structure as a general yoga class, but are dedicated for pregnancy – you don’t have to be an experienced Yogini to attend.

Can you do pregnancy yoga in the first trimester?

It is recommended to start classes once the first trimester is over. This is due to the instability of the pregnancy at this time, and also because Mums usually feel very tired and nauseous until around week 14. However, gentle yoga is safe at any stage of your pregnancy.

Do I need to be experienced at yoga already?

These classes are very suitable for yoga beginners. Many Mums start their Yoga journey during these classes. Mama, Birth & Baby can offer you a gentle pregnancy fitness class which will maintain your health and well being right up to your due date.

Thanks Julie for your expertise, if anyone would like to find out more details about Julie’s pregnancy yoga courses or book on, you can click here for more information.

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