You’re expecting?! Congratulations! You must be – excited, scared, happy, and overwhelmed – all at the same time. It’s difficult to put your finger on just what you’re feeling, isn’t it? The kicks are delightful, but the cramps are debilitating. You might be glowing with enthusiasm one moment and overcome with emotion the next. Nothing quite explains the feeling of having a life growing inside you. You may also experience a fair share of mood swings; courtesy of hormonal changes. This is precisely why yoga can be a godsend for you during pregnancy. 

How Yoga for Pregnant Women helps

Yoga provides holistic health benefits for to-be-mothers:

  • Yoga during pregnancy helps keep the body supple. They relieve tension around the cervix by opening up the pelvic region. This prepares to-be-mothers for labor and delivery.
  • Yoga and pranayamas can train you to breathe deeply and relax consciously, helping you face the demands of labor and childbirth.
  • Pregnancy Yoga helps alleviate the effect of common symptoms such as morning sickness, painful leg cramps, swollen ankles, and constipation.
  • Yoga asanas also help pregnant women recover faster post-delivery.

Yoga for Pregnant Women

Exercising yoga during pregnancy is essential. The following pregnancy yoga poses zero in on the challenges that expecting mothers face – a shifted center of gravity and lower back pain.

Marjariasana (Cat Stretch)

How to do Marjariasana:

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Konasana-I (Standing Sideways Bending One Arm)
  • Stretches the neck and shoulders, alleviating stiffness.
  • Keeps the spine flexible. This is useful because the back has to support more weight as the pregnancy advances.
  • Tones the abdominal region.
  • Improves blood circulation, ensuring that the reproductive organs are well nourished.

Konasana-I (Standing Sideways Bending One Arm)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Konasana-I (Standing Sideways Bending One Arm)
  • Keeps the spine flexible.
  • Exercises and stretches the sides of the body.
  • Helps alleviate constipation, a common symptom of pregnancy.
    Benefits of Konasana.

Konasana-II (Standing Sideways Using Both Arms)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Konasana II
  • Stretches and tones the arms, legs and abdominal organs.
  • Stretches and exercises the spine.

Veerbhadrasana (Warrior Pose)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Veerbhadrasana (Warrior Pose)
  • Improves balance in the body.
  • Tones the arms, legs and lower back.
  • Increases stamina.
    Learn more about Veerbhadrasana.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

How to do Trikonasana :

  • Maintains physical and mental balance. Especially useful for pregnant women since their center of gravity shifts.
  • Stretches and opens the hips which can be a big help during delivery.
  • Reduces back pain and stress.

Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose)
  • Relieves backache.
  • Improves the flow of blood to the pelvic region.
  • Eases swollen ankles and varicose veins – a common symptom of pregnancy.

Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose)

Know more about Badhakonasana :

  • Improves flexibility in the hip and groin region.
  • Stretches the thighs and knees, relieving pain.
  • Alleviates fatigue.
  • Helps facilitate smooth delivery when practiced until late pregnancy.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
  • Relaxes the body and repairs cells. This helps self-healing which is vital, as pregnant women should avoid taking pills.
  • Relieves stress.

Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep)

Know more about Yoga Nidra :

  • Reduces tension and anxiety.
  • Helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Deeply relaxes every cell in the body. 

Pranayama & yoga during pregnancy

Pranayamas release negative emotions like anger and frustration during pregnancy. They also help release stress, thus, keeping the mind calm and composed.

Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath)
  • Helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Relieves headaches.
    click here to know more Benefits of Bhramari Pranayam.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing technique)

Yoga for Pregnant Women- Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing technique).jpg

how to do Nadi shodhan Pranayama

  • Calms and relaxes the mind.
  • Maintains body temperature.
  • Enhances oxygen supply which helps with the baby’s growth.

After practicing these yoga moves and pranayamas, follow up with a session of meditation. It will help you relax deeply.

Precautions for pregnant women while doing Yoga

  • During the advanced stages of pregnancy, avoid yoga asanas that put pressure on the abdomen.
  • For the first trimester of pregnancy, do standing yoga poses. This will help strengthen the legs and enhance circulation. It can even reduce leg cramps.
  • During the second and third trimester, reduce the time spent holding asanas to prevent fatigue. Substitute with breathing exercises and meditation.
  • Avoid practicing yoga from the 10th to the 14th week of pregnancy since these are crucial times.
  • Avoid doing inversion poses.
  • Listen to your body and do as much as you can without undue effort.

Yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy

  • Naukasana (Boat Pose)
  • Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose)
  • Halasana (Plow Pose)

It is advisable to consult a doctor before taking up any yoga schedule during pregnancy. Learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher.

Practicing Yoga helps develop the body and mind, yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is essential to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga only after consulting your doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher.

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FAQs about Yoga During Pregnancy

With consultation of your doctor, you can start prenatal yoga from your first trimester itself. If your morning sickness allows you to do pregnancy yoga you must start as early as possible.
In case travelling to a near by prenatal yoga classes is not easy, its good to practice pregnancy yoga from the comfort of your home by following the guidelines given on online pregnancy yoga classes.
In the third trimester reduce holding time of asanas to avoid fatigue. If you are in the habit of practicing yoga and your doctor says you are good to go, only then go for prenatal yoga in third trimester. Do more breathing exercises and meditation. You must listen to your body. Don’t do hot or power yoga at present.
In fact practicing yoga during pregnancy and pregnancy breathing exercises are good to avoid preterm labor.
Yoga during pregnancy does not lead to miscarriage. Its the stress and doubt associated with prenatal yoga poses which can lead to miscarriage. Better don’t practice. Or else it will compel you to think about it and that’s unreasonable. Any yoga pose that puts pressure on the abdomen, abdominal twists, hot yoga and power yoga be avoided and you are good to go.
Studies suggest that yoga during pregnancy is safe and is beneficial both for the lady and the unborn baby. It improves sleep quality, destresses and reduces anxiety.
Any yoga pose that puts pressure on the abdomen, inversion poses, abdominal twists, hot yoga and power yoga be avoided. Avoid yoga from 10th -14th week of pregnancy. Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal Twist) Naukasana (Boat Pose) Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose) Halasana (Plow Pose)
Pregnancy yoga poses that are recommended are: Marjariasana (Cat Stretch) Konasana-I (Standing Sideways Bending One Arm) Konasana-II (Standing Sideways Bending Using Both Arms) Veerbhadrasana (Warrior Pose) Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) Badhakonasana (Butterfly Pose) Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose) Shavasana (Corpse Pose) Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) Pregnancy breathing exercises or Pranayamas: Bhramari Pranayama (Bee Breath) Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing technique)