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pregnancy yoga

Pregnancy Notes

The Two Pregnancy Symptoms No One Tells You About

January 30, 2024
Photos from our Sakleshpur baby moon.

I’ve tried to document this pregnancy as much as possible. This is from a collection of photos we took on our baby moon to Sakleshpur.

Before I fell pregnant myself, pregnancy seemed pretty straight forward.  You get big, sometimes cranky and start to waddle around.  Some women glow, and some can’t stop eating.

While all the above is true, it is also only a superficial insight into pregnancy.  Pregnancy encompasses a whole gamut of experiences that no one really talks about.  For instance no one tells you ‘morning sickness’ is a misnomer, that it should actually be called ‘all day sickness’.  That you might not throw up, but you’ll feel like throwing up all the time.  Also that your digestion goes for a toss, regardless of what you eat/don’t eat.  Also that sometimes your skin might break out.  And also no one tells you about the constant fatigue, which in itself is fatiguing.  But there are two pregnancy symptoms that no one seems to be talking about…

Two Pregnancy Symptoms No One Tells You About

1. Gingivitis

One night I did a double take and blanched at what I saw in the sink – I had just spit out dark pink toothpaste froth.  I looked at my gums and couldn’t believe that blood could ooze out of your gums like that.  Painless yet frightening.  I recalled reading a little about this in ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting‘, but couldn’t remember what it said I should do.  I sent a frantic message to my friend and dentist Teena, whose calm response did nothing to alleviate my panic.  “It’s a normal pregnancy symptom Pragya.  Use your water flosser regularly and come in for a cleaning.”

Gingivitis can happen during any trimester and usually peaks during the third.  While the exact cause isn’t known, doctors speculate there could be several reasons for this.

  • Changes in hormones during pregnancy, specifically the increase in estrogen and progesterone.  While these hormones are important for the growth of the baby, they also cause gum inflammation.
  • Increased volume of blood in a woman’s body, leading to more blood flow to the gum.
  • In addition to this, eating more frequently leaves your mouth exposed to more bacteria than usual.


What To Do
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily.
  • Salt water rinses – this actually helps to keep oral bacteria in check.

I remember an entire week where I’d wonder when the bleeding would stop, and eventually it did stop.  So if you’re in the same boat, don’t worry too much about this, but make sure you’re maintaining as much oral hygiene as possible.  And schedule an appointment with your dentist asap.

2. Nose bleeds

Sneezing blood is not what great pregnancy stories are made of.  But many women, including me, have that unfortunate experience.

Nosebleeds happen because of the same reason that your gums bleed – there is so much more blood circulating through your system and hormones.  In addition to this:

  • Blood vessels in the nose are delicate and can rupture easily – leading to nosebleeds.
  • Hormonal changes can leave pregnant women susceptible to allergies and colds – and these increase changes of nose bleeds.
  • Dehydration can also cause nosebleeds.  During my first trimester drinking water made me nauseous and consequently my water intake reduced.


What To Do
  • Jal Neti to the rescue.  I found that jal neti also helped calm the dry, raw skin inside my nostrils that can happen because of the dry weather or allergies.
  • Use pregnancy-safe balms around your nose to relax constricted blood vessels.  This also lubricates the nostrils and eases the pain and discomfort.


Although nosebleeds are nothing to worry about, if it doesn’t stop then it’s a good idea to consult a doctor. Also if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or feel dizzy and have problems breathing, then consult a doctor asap.

Besides these two pregnancy symptoms, there are so many others that women encounter.  No two pregnancies are the same, so the symptoms vary from person to person.  That said, there are so many things, such as PGP, which are just a game of hormones (as my yoga teacher likes to say), and you have to work on management rather than prevention.  Thus far I’ve relied on my intuition and a fair amount of research to make decisions for myself, which has worked for me.

As always reaching out to friends and family can give you the support you need for a healthy and rewarding pregnancy.  In case you have any questions about your experience, please leave a comment or email me on



Pregnancy Notes

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) – A (Literal) Pain in the Ass

January 2, 2024

Prior to actually falling pregnant I never really understood pregnancy back pain.  About three months into my pregnancy I started feeling an unfamiliar pain whenever I turned over in bed, or slid off the bolsters after cross-bolster setubandha sarvangasana.  Basically, whenever my weight was unevenly supported by my pelvis.  This kind of pain is common and is referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and also Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD).

About 2 in 5 women experience this pain, so it’s more common than we think.

This pain occurs in different areas of the pelvis, such as the groin, the buttocks (similar to sciatica), the thighs, the lower back, or the hips.  I sometimes even feel a clicking in my pelvic joints (even now, 6 months into the pregnancy).  But thankfully, I’ve been able to successfully manage the pain through regular yoga and conscious movement.




There are many causes for Pelvic Girdle Pain.  It can be related to previous injuries or even the natural structural build of a woman.  The weight of the growing baby also puts added strain on a woman’s pelvis, which can be a contributing factor.  Other factors are:

  1. The most common reason is the hormone relaxin which is released during pregnancy by the ovaries and the placenta.  This hormone loosens the muscles and ligaments and enable your pelvis to enlarge to let the baby to descend down and out of the vagina.  In short, relaxin makes labor and delivery easier.  The downside is that relaxin also affects other joints in the body, which are responsible for postural changes during pregnancy.  These can also lead to back pain, but can be managed with yoga therapy or the help of a good physiotherapist.
  2. An unstable pelvis.  This causes body weight to load one side of the body which puts repeated uneven stress on one side of the body.  This is why this pain can sometimes be felt after an active day.  If you’ve been able to identify what aggravates this pain, you should avoid it.  Ignoring the pain won’t help – the pain only gets worse.
  3. In some cases the position of the baby in-utero can also cause PGP.
  4. Weak core muscles.
  5. Tight muscles.
  6. Inflammation of the muscles and ligaments.


Yoga for PGP

Viparita Karani helps to relax and align the lower back. Make sure to use a bolster for extra comfort and width on the pelvis.

Viparita Karani helps to relax and align the lower back. Make sure to use a bolster for extra comfort and width for the pelvis.


Make sure to keep your legs wide to accommodate the growing belly.

Make sure to keep your legs wide to accommodate the growing belly.


You can give more support to your lower back using another bolster.

In the prenatal yoga classes I attended, my teacher taught me this variation – where you can give more support to your lower back using another bolster. It seems like a small and insignificant change – but on many days this variation felt extra soothing.


Widen your legs.

Widen your legs.


Supta padangushtasana B is wonderful to stabilise the pelvis.

Supta padangushtasana B is wonderful to stabilise the pelvis. Do it on both sides for about 2 minutes each, and don’t forget the bolster under the extended leg.  The height of the leg isn’t important – in fact, you might feel better if you reduce the angle between the legs.



  1. Early on I realised that demonstrating asanas in yoga class aggravated the pain because we often only demonstrate on one side.  Since then I’ve been very cautious about the kinds of asanas I demonstrate and often opt not to demonstrate at all, relying on oral instructions.
  2. I’ve moved two bolsters to my bedroom and now sleep with them between my knees.  (Also, it’s recommended to sleep on the left side, and I usually do this.)
  3. Although many women continue to lift heavy weights in the gym, or even lift and carry their toddlers or groceries – this puts uneven strain on your back.  Even for women who are used to heavy lifting – the added hormones and growing belly makes your back vulnerable.  For this reason I eliminated the tree pose and natrajasana from my practice.
  4. I also found that crossing my legs when sitting at my desk causes the pain, probably because of the uneven weight distribution.  So I consciously changed the way I sit.
  5. As much as possible sit in baddhakonasana, sukhasana or upavishta konasana with your back supported.
  6. During the prenatal yoga classes I attended, my teacher would remind me to not rush and move slowly, more consciously.  This really helps as it reduces the chances of something getting inadvertently tweaked.
  7. Icing reduces inflammation.
  8. Water based activities – like aqua yoga, aqua zumba, swimming or even just walking back and forth in the pool help a lot because it strengthens your muscles while supporting about 70% of your body weight.
  9. Rest it out.

Because there is no one reason for why this pain occurs, prevention is better than cure.  But, because pregnancy is also a game of hormones, it’s not always possible to prevent pelvic girdle pain, and you might need to just manage the symptoms.

Hope this helps!

Enquiries Into Yogic Philosophy

And the Theme for This Year Is…

January 5, 2016

And the first weekend of the year is already over.  There’s a certain amount of superstition associated with the first day of the year and this time the first day also led us into the first weekend of the year.  In Bangalore they implemented the law mandating a helmet for pillion riders.  In Delhi they started initiatives for pollution control.  I guess even governments aren’t immune to the charm of the first day  of the new year.

I spent the first weekend of the year at home, relaxing.  I had re-organized my bookshelf and my closet so I was basking in the after glow of accomplishment.  I’d already made my resolutions but I wanted to hang out a bit by myself to think about and to ‘sense’ where I am headed this year.  A couple of years ago I stopped making life impacting and life changing resolutions and started becoming more realistic about things.  That move evolved into the 80-20 approach I follow in life.  80% of the time I stick to ‘good’ and ‘constructive’ habits (eating well, exercising, meditating) and 20% of the time I let go (cribbing, bitching, drowning my sorrows in chocolate).  So this year instead of telling myself that I was going to run a marathon or finally do a pull up, I told myself I would focus on what would get me these goals.  And that would be training every day without fail.  (Here I allow myself the 80-20 rule, however, if I see the balance shifting to 79-21, then I ruthlessly force myself to make it 100-0.)

I also took some time to think about the work I do and to plan where I want to take it.  I thought about the projects I’m involved with and whether they are in line with the larger goals I would like to accomplish.  I looked at my schedule and cleaned it up.  For those commitments that I simply can’t let go of, I looked at how I can work on them to serve me rather than feeling helpless or dreading the work.

And also, I thought to myself that this year I should let time and life unfold before me and be a passive observer.  The last few months have taught me that fighting and resisting never works.  What works is to become fluid and go with the flow.  Not all battles need to be fought.  Most, in fact, are a waste of time.  Conserve your energy for those things that matter.   My theme for this year is Interaction.  Interaction with readers, followers, students, teachers, colleagues, friends..etc.  Fruitful interactions may lead to great collaborations.  Great collaborations may lead to amazing projects.  And amazing projects can change peoples’ lives.

Check out a few videos that I did (on behalf of HealthifyMe) with TheHealthSite.  We spent an exhausting but fun day in Bombay filming these.