Let’s get to the main question: is yoga really safe during pregnancy? The short answer is yes! The longer answer is yes, as long as you take the right precautions, listen to your body, and feel comfortable in your postures. That’s where we come in! We’ve got the top 5 steps to take before starting prenatal yoga and our 5 favorite moves for your baby bump days so you can nail those asanas and work on your pranayama (for any beginner’s out there this guide to yoga lingo will be your best mate). Also – in the spirit of healthier living, check out our favorite phthalate-free, latex-free yoga mat here!
Now if you’re rocking a 3rd trimester baby bump, we’re sure the thought of even trying to touch your toes is laughable. But yoga isn't just about crazy flexibility or those impossible-looking inversions (unless of course, you're a veteran yogini). Your prenatal yoga practice is really all about maintaining good muscle tone and strength, channeling energy and breathing into one, and helping to relieve aches and pains with gentle, focused stretching. It’s as much of a wellbeing practice as it is a fitness practice – giving you time and space to tend to yourself and your body.
Alright, shall we jump into it? Before we share our top 5 yoga poses for pregnancy – we’ve got our top tips on what to keep in mind when starting a prenatal yoga practice.
There are so many yoga poses that are fantastic to do while pregnant. That said, there are some moves you’ll want to refrain from until after birth. The main types of poses to avoid are ones that require: twisting motions of the abdomen, lying on your back for extended periods of time, and putting pressure or compression on your abdomen – such as lying on your stomach or folding over too far.
Now that that’s out of the way, onto the good stuff!
Again, these 5 yoga moves aren’t the only yoga poses you should be doing with a prenatal yoga practice – there are so many that are good for you! But these are 5 simple moves that anyone can do, and are easily done from the comfort of your own home. Each one alleviates some of the common aches, pains, and symptoms of pregnancy - so be sure to check them out!
Downward Dog: For a while, pregnant women were advised to avoid downward dog poses, especially later in pregnancy. But a recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that this pose is well tolerated and deemed safe when done properly and under observation. It gives you the benefits of inversions without actually being an inversion, by encouraging blood flow to the brain, which is thought to improve moods and relieve mild depressive feelings. Plus it can release tension in the lower back by elongating the spine.
Pigeon Pose: This pigeon pose variation is suited for pregnancy because it doesn’t require folding over (as in extended pigeon) nor does it require twisting of the abdomen (as in king pigeon pose); but you’ll still get all the hip opening benefits! Make sure to keep your hips even, and use a pillow under your hip if needed for extra support. The variation below with arms extended will help stretch your hip flexor if you’re feeling tight there, but you can also leave your arms down at your sides if more comfortable.
Wide-Legged Child’s Pose: Ahh, who doesn’t love child’s pose? The wide-legged version is perfect to make room for your growing baby (and growing bump). This pose is great to work on breathing control during rest periods, which proves helpful once labor contractions kick in! It will also help open up your hips and stretch your back, and this extended position is good for opening the chest as well.
Butterfly Pose: Another hip opener for you! This pose wills stretch your hips and thighs and is believed to be an important stress-relieving pose. It’s also thought to help encourage good digestion, so if pregnancy hormones have you a bit backed up, it might help things move along. Also, once you get closer to baby’s due date, this pose will be great to encourage good positioning for birth as well as baby’s engagement into the birth canal.
Upward Salute: This pose is a serious winner when it comes to alleviating pregnancy symptoms. It encourages the opening of your chest and creates space in the front body, which can reduce feelings of anxiety and fatigue, help with nausea and heartburn, and make it easier to breathe – which is especially welcome if you’re dealing with breathlessness. Keep in mind that moves where you have your arms overhead for an extended period of time can make you dizzy due to a change in blood pressure – so it’s best to do this stretch in 12-second increments, or the time it takes for 2 deep breaths. Of course, if you do feel dizzy or lightheaded doing this pose, stop right away.
Get our favorite phthalate-free, latex-free yoga mat here!
Show us your prenatal yogi style! Post a photo on Instagram and tag @baby2bodyofficial and use the hashtag #shapeyourpregnancy for a chance to be featured on our page!