4 Prenatal Yoga Positions and Poses for a Strong and Healthy Pregnancy

4 Prenatal Yoga Positions and Poses for a Strong and Healthy Pregnancy

Stretching, breathing, staying in the moment—all part of a yoga practice, and all very helpful for pregnant women!

Prenatal yoga is one of the most beneficial activities for pregnant women. Not only does a regular yoga practice help keep your body limber and flexible, it also encourages deep breathing and staying present in the moment. If you're in good health and your pregnancy is progressing normally, modified yoga—better known as prenatal yoga or pregnancy yoga—can help you feel your best as you move through trimesters.[5]

Why do prenatal yoga poses? These are just a few of the specific, research-backed benefits:

  • It may reduce pelvic pain[6]
  • It can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety[7]
  • It may help you spend less time in the pushing stage of labor[8]
  • It may make labor less painful[9]
  • It can make pregnancy feel less stressful[10]

Ready to get limber? If your doctor gives the green light, look for prenatal yoga classes, either online or in person. Designed for pregnant women, these classes incorporate modified yoga exercises that are safe, comfortable, and possible to do as your center of gravity shifts. For the comfort and safety of you and your baby, avoid hot yoga[11]; inverted poses; and poses that involve deep bends, lying on your belly or back, and twists that "close" your uterine area. Here are a few prenatal poses you may enjoy, with pregnancy-specific modifications: 

Balasana/child's pose[12]

This gentle stretch is relaxing and restorative. In your second and third trimesters, you can make room for your growing belly by keeping your knees wider and resting your forehead on a yoga block. [13]

Chakravakasana/cat-cow pose

This basic yoga pose is great for warmups and cooldowns—no pregnancy modifications necessary! Start on your hands and knees and curve your spine up (like a cat), then let it sink down (like a swayback cow).

Virabhadrasana II/warrior II pose

If the traditional pose feels too tiring, make it a little easier on yourself! Try kneeling with your back knee, or bring your feet closer together for a less intense stretch.[14]    

Savasana/corpse pose

Traditionally the final pose in a yoga practice, savasana involves relaxing your muscles and mind. Lying on one's back is not advised during pregnancy, but tweaking the move means you can still unwind. Try rolling to your left side, then supporting your belly and limbs with pillows that keep you well-aligned.  [15]

Looking for more ideas for a pregnancy fitness plan? Learn about prenatal workouts that you can do as your bump grows.

[5] https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy

[6] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26118705/

[7] https://www.yoga-als-therapie.de/assets/Studien/Downloads/Field-2013-J-Bodyw-Mov-Ther.pdf

[8] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956119870984

[9] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2164956119870984

[10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19538619/

[11] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/art-20047193

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balasana

[13] https://www.corepoweryoga.com/blog/prenatal-yoga-modifications-trimester

[14] https://prenatalyogaandbeyond.com/2020/06/13/prenatal-yoga-poses-how-to-do-warrior-ii/

[15] https://www.oprah.com/health/yoga-poses-pregnant-women-should-avoid/all