The onset of pregnancy is the news of extreme bliss. Along with it comes the responsibility of keeping would – be mother’s body fit and fine to minimize labor pain. The entire span of pregnancy is marked by three trimesters. There are specific yoga poses for each trimester which are recommended for the would-be-mother.
One objective of the prenatal yoga sequences for all three trimesters is the delivery of healthy baby. The other is to ensure the child birth doesn’t face any complications. The first trimester spans from the 1st week of pregnancy to the 12th week. Second trimester runs from 13th week till 26th week and the third from 27th week till child delivery.
The first phase is particularly agonizing with morning sickness, nausea and fatigue being your companion. Keeping yourself energized and relaxed is extremely important. Pregnancy yoga poses will help you get over the ordeal and make it a point you experience a normal delivery.
Best pregnancy Yoga poses for each trimester:
Prenatal yoga sequences cover all three-trimester phases, though some of them are common to all three trimesters. Here we will not deal with them separately. Likewise, certain avoidances are to be strictly followed covering all three phases, some of them common to all three.
The first trimester:
Since this is the initial period of pregnancy, a nagging unease may ring in your mind regarding safety of yogic exercises. Life is in formative stage in womb drawing nourishment from mother’s body. Would the tender fetus be able take the stress of yoga practiced by the mother?
At this stage, yoga should be practiced under the guidance of a qualified Yoga guru. He should have full knowledge of pregnancy and its stages. A few poses may interfere with flow of blood in the uterus, resulting in damage of ligament in this region.
While you are journeying along the first trimester phase, you need to follow certain dos and don’ts like:
- Don’t go for strenuous yoga and don’t overstretch yourself beyond what is easy and normal.
- Have an ear to your body and don’t miss the signals.
- Whenever you feel exhausted, don’t hesitate to rest.
- Practice yoga in a cool and airy ambience. A high temperature is not conducive to the health of mother and life growing inside her.
- Avoid sun salutation and jump backs.
- Avoid locust, boat and plough pose as these are too strenuous.
Pregnancy Yoga poses for the first trimester:
This is the cobra pose when the serpent raises hood. Don’t over strain and stay in this position not more than 30 seconds in empty stomach.
Benefits: releases tension in lower back, improves mood and heightens flexibility.
This is butterfly stance with wings spread apart. Sit straight with legs stretched outwards. Inhale and bend your knees pulling the soles to the pelvis. Lightly press the soles and let the knees lie flat on the sides. Do it in empty stomach.
Benefits: Removes tiredness, triggers adrenal glands, enhances blood circulation and corrects menstrual issues.
This is the cow pose and novice pregnant mothers can take it up. Place your back in a table top position with your knees and palms touching the floor. The knees should be in line with the hips. With gentle inhalation lift your buttocks. The abdomen should sink towards the ground and your head should be lifted up.
Benefits: Massages internal organs, reduces stress, improves blood circulation and removes back ache.
Known as Cat pose, it looks like a feline stretching its rump. Your palms and knees should touch the ground, back stretched upward and head bend downward. This should not be done for more than 15 seconds in empty stomach.
Benefits: Energizes mind, purifies blood and improves flow of blood to organs and removes stress.
This is lying flat and putting your legs up against wall. It should be done under instruction of certified guru.
Benefits: Relieves headache and menstrual aches and mitigates lower back pain.
This is the towering pose having resemblance with mountains. Stand straight. Lift your arms straight above your head keeping your palms joined. Tilt your head backward. This pose need not be practiced in empty stomach.
Benefits: Improved posture, stable breathing pattern, improves strength and flexibility in feet, legs and hips.
This is the warrior II stance and followed after legendary warrior Virabhadra standing in this pose. Beginners can practice it, but on an empty stomach.
Benefits: Enhances blood circulation, improves balance, rejuvenates body and develops stamina.
The first three months represented by 1st trimester is a very sensitive stage of pregnancy. The fetus is yet to implant firmly. So practice yoga very carefully without strain and rush and under able guidance.
Pregnancy Yoga poses for trimester 2:
Before going to yoga poses lets briefly discuss the precautions. They are:
- Do not jump during yoga. Your heart rate should not be more than normal beats.
- Do not go for stressful exercises. It will increase your body’s oxygen requirement. Remember you have a baby inside who might be getting lesser oxygen and unnecessarily needs to compete with your sudden rise in oxygen demand. There is no proportionate increase in supply.
- Don’t go for back bending exercises.
- Don’t go for exercises requiring stretching of abdominal muscles.
Pregnancy yoga poses for 2nd trimester:
Virbhadrasana (Warrior II) pose
Triangular Pose ( Trikonasana ):
This represents a firm and geometrical triangular shape.
Benefits: Enhances blood circulation and mitigates pain in different parts of the body.
Side angle pose:
This is a variation of triangular pose, though the process involved to achieve this pose is way different.
Benefits: Removes stress experienced in vertebral column.
The side leg raise:
It is also known as Vishnuasana, resembling Lord Vishnu relaxing on lotus. This is an easy and relaxing yoga.
Benefits: Relaxes muscles of the abdomen, hamstring and inner thigh region.
Palm tree pose:
In this pose, you look like a towering tree.
Benefits: The vertebral column gets much needed exercise, mental and physical equilibrium is struck.
Downward dog pose:
Looks like a dog in its typical stance. Also known as Adhomukha Svanasana.
Benefits: Strengthens your legs, improves digestion, makes breathing stable and brings mental tranquility.
This kandhasanchalan yoga involves working a number of muscles in the neck and shoulder region.
Benefits: releases inflexibility in neck and shoulder muscles.
Standing upward stretch:
This is standing straight and erect with an effort to stretch the muscles of arm and shoulder.
Benefits: Relieves you from stiffness in the back and shoulders in a jiffy. It improves breathing rhythm by allowing more oxygen to reach brain.
Pregnancy yoga poses for the third and final trimester:
This is the final stage of pregnancy and your long wait is to culminate in a wonderful gift from nature. By now, you have been accustomed with a number of pregnancy yoga poses.
However, it is not over and you need to follow third trimester pregnancy yoga poses regularly. They are here under:
Birth preparation yoga:
These are easy exercises designed to reduce labor pain and help the baby get a neat alignment to the pelvic region for smooth delivery.
The Bridge Pose:
This pose needs starting on the side and rolling on back if you feel easy doing it. Your body is set in a bridge pose.
Benefits: It makes your glutes and hamstring powerful. Builds your core strength. It also adds flexibility to your hips.
Warrior I pose:
This is an upper body strengthening yogasana.
Benefits: Makes your chest supple, improves spine health, makes legs powerful and provides room for the growing baby.
Lying on bed with muscles relaxed.
Benefits: Brings instant rejuvenation to body and mind. Removes fatigue during pregnancy.
It is a restful pose that focuses on a relaxed breathing pattern.
Benefits: Eases the contraction and relaxation of pelvic muscles responsible for normal delivery. It reduces labor pain.
Gentle movement of pelvis in a circular direction, together with hip movement.
Benefits: It makes your pelvic region supple and gently maneuvers the baby’s head down into cervix.
You can also practice the following poses:
Bitalasana (cow pose)
Marjarasana (cat pose)
Virbhadrasana (warrior II pose)
Practicing your own way of vocalization that controls your breathing rhythm.
Benefits: It reduces labor pain and an effective way to keep your pelvic muscles relaxed and prepared for the D-day.
Go into a deep reverie with all muscles calmed down.
Benefits: Helps achieve a peaceful mental state so that there is no worry during child birth.