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.

Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the First Trimester

Prenatal yoga is a very popular training for mums-to-be. Besides the fitness advantages, yoga also teaches you how to relax and how to breathe correctly while exercising. Pick a class and go. It’s not for everyone, but you might like yoga and maybe even continue with postnatal yoga.

Types of classes

There are plenty of yoga classes in London that are dedicated to pregnant women, offering beginner, intermediate and advanced yoga trainings for women in their first, second and third trimester. Discuss with your yoga instructor to help you pick the one that is the most suitable for you. During the first trimester you probably don’t have too many restrictions regarding physical exercise, so you can also opt for regular yoga classes – unless your doctor suggested otherwise. For practising prenatal yoga in your second trimester, you will need support for most of the poses. One of the lightest yoga styles is Hatha Yoga. It has a slower tempo and it’s very approachable for beginners.

Yoga postures for the first trimester

If you’re new to yoga, you’ll start your training by learning basic postures and how to breathe correctly. Then, the exercises should focus on gradually increasing your strength and muscle flexibility. Meditation is a core part of traditional yoga styles, but you can opt for classes that concentrate more on the fitness part of yoga and less on meditation. Power yoga is the most popular yoga style that concentrates mostly on the fitness benefits of yoga, but it is also one of the most demanding yoga trainings. Below are a few postures that specifically benefit the muscles that prepare you for pregnancy and giving birth.

Sideways swings

Parighasana, or sideways swings, is a great pose to build your muscles on the sides of your body and to improve spine flexibility.

Cat and dog poses

These are relatively easy to do, and very efficient in strengthening the muscles in your lower back. Alternate the positions to relax and increase flexibility of the spine.

Urdhva Dhanurasana backbends

This pose is a good start point for more advanced backbend yoga poses. This exercise will improve the flexibility of your spine and it will help you build energy and strength.

Warrior poses

These poses will help you strengthen your joints and prepare your body for supporting the extra weight.

Stay safe

Remember to consume extra calories in the days when you exercise and to always consult with your doctor or midwife before starting a new exercise class. If you ever feel that a yoga position is uncomfortable for you, adjust your position. Ask your class instructor to guide you or to suggest another position with the same benefits.