Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the Third Trimester

Practicing yoga during your third trimester of pregnancy can be perfectly safe as long as you adjust your poses to have proper support. These final months can be quite hectic, so finding some peace and quiet through yoga can have amazing health benefits. Yoga and meditation can help you relax, bond with your baby and embrace your new life.

How to adjust your yoga poses in the third trimester

Your belly is now bigger and your centre of gravity is slightly shifted towards the front. This means that you will need to adjust most of your yoga poses to accommodate these changes. Ask your yoga teacher about poses recommended for this stage of pregnancy and be mindful about your limits – don’t push yourself if you ever feel that a pose is too intense or uncomfortable.

Set your yoga pad next to a wall, a pole or a chair to have support during standing poses and balance poses. Use props, straps and pillows to make the poses more comfortable. Another major change in your yoga routine is the duration of exercises: it’s now important to keep your body in motion without staying too long in one pose.

Avoid poses on your back in general during pregnancy. Lie on the side for resting in-between poses and at the end of your practice. Put one pillow under your head and one between your legs to feel more comfortable. Replace the Happy Baby pose with the Butterfly pose.

Focus on poses that strengthen your thighs and joints such as Warrior poses, Tree and Squatting poses. Make sure to use a chair or hold on to something solid for support. Try to keep your back straight and elongated and breathe in your belly – this will allow you to take deeper breaths.

Poses that require keeping your upper body lower than your pelvis should be avoided, as they can interfere with the baby’s preparation to shift into the birth position. These include Bridge poses and Downward Dog poses as well. Cat and camel poses are ok, as long as you ease in from one pose to the other as smoothly as possible.

The most important safety tip for third trimester yoga is to take it easy. This is done by reducing the effort, intensity and duration of your practice. Make sure to consult with your doctor on your risks for doing physical effort during late pregnancy.

Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the Second Trimester

Prenatal yoga is a great exercise for mums to be. When practiced safely, you will feel more energized, more comfortable and your body will be stronger and more flexible. If you’ve been practicing yoga regularly in your first trimester of pregnancy, you will now notice an increase in energy and a general decrease in discomfort. This is the most enjoyable time for exercise, as the pregnancy symptoms from the first trimester have diminished and the major physical changes of the third trimester are not an obstacle yet.

How is yoga different in the second trimester?

Now that a small bump is becoming visible, yoga practice will help you to become aware of the responsibility for the little one your carry. Yoga helps you reflect on this newly learned selflessness and on letting go and accepting.

Your baby is starting to shift the centre of gravity towards the growing belly, putting pressure on your back. This means you will have to modify your balance poses and use support for most of the poses.

At your prenatal yoga classes, you will learn how to adjust your practice to alleviate discomfort in the lower back and other sensitive areas. Standing poses and balance poses are very beneficial in the second trimester, as they build the muscles in your legs and prevent swelling, but most of them have to be adjusted by using support such as a chair. Warrior I and Warrior II are excellent poses that will help you improve your balance and strengthen the knee joints and thigh muscles. Don’t avoid them if you feel worried about your balance, and instead practice these poses near a wall.

Safety tips for practicing yoga in the second trimester

As your sense of balance gets affected by the growing belly and joint and muscles have loosened up, be extra careful during your exercises. Don’t push yourself by locking into a yoga position for too long or forcing your body over its limits. Overdoing it at this stage of pregnancy can result in injuries. If your yoga class is not dedicated to prenatal exercises, make sure your instructor knows that you are pregnant and in order to give you advice on what support to use during standing poses and how to adjust poses to accommodate your bump and release the pressure on your lower back. Avoid poses that involve lying flat on your back. This can put pressure on your spine and can restrict blood flow to your womb. Choose a side-lying position as your resting pose instead.

Exercise Safely during Pregnancy

Workouts during pregnancy will keep you and your baby healthy, help you sleep better and prepare your body for labour. If you’re a beginner to exercising, start with 15 minutes workout sessions two or three times a week. Gradually increase the length and frequency of your sessions to 30 minutes sessions daily. You will feel healthier and more prepared for giving birth. To make sure that you exercise as safely as possible, consult the checklist below and follow our guidelines.

Safe pregnancy exercise checklist:

□  Always check with your doctor before beginning your exercise plan. Certain medical conditions rule out some types of physical activity.

□  If you used to work out intensely before pregnancy, train at equal or lower intensity while pregnant.

□  Tell your training instructor you’re pregnant, so that he can offer advice on which exercises are safe for you.

□  Keep a correct posture while you’re exercising, in order to protect your back.

□  Wear a supportive bra and comfortable clothes and appropiate footwear during your workout.

□  Make sure to drink at least 2 litres of water or fluids every day.

□  Choose exercises that are comfortable for you. If you don’t feel comfortable anymore during an exercise, you should stop.

□  Avoid exercising on your back during the 2nd and 3rd trimester.

□  Do not end jogging or aerobic exercises abruptly. If you have unusual symptoms and need to stop, try to walk around slowly for a couple of minutes.

□  Aim for workouts of moderate intensity. You should not feel exhausted or too tired at the end of a training session.

Stop exercising if you have unusual symptoms

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) has provided a list of unusual symptoms that you should consider as warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of these symptoms while exercising, stop your workout immediately and call your doctor or midwife to consult you.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Chest pains or palpitations
  • Backaches
  • Pain in your abdomen or pubic area
  • Pain in the pelvic girdle
  • Painful uterine contractions
  • Feeling fewer movement from the baby
  • Leakage of amniotic fluids
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Feeling of weakness in muscles
  • Pain in your legs or swelling of legs

For more information provided by the RCOG on suitable exercises for pregnant women and safety precautions for exercising during pregnancy, check out their guide on Recreational Exercise and Pregnancy.