Yoga During Pregnancy


According to this article, physicians are advising pregnant women to practice yoga during pregnancy. Before taking up various yoga positions, it is advisable to know which ones are safe. Some of the beneficial yoga positions include transverse abdominal strengthening, Kegals, Pigeon Pose, standing poses for strengthening the legs and Gluteals, Virabadrasana II, and squats. There are also some yoga poses that should be avoided during pregnancy, such as deep abdominal twists, deep backbends, and some positions that are prone for instance lying on the back. Physical instructors are the best people to advise on the correct yoga poses for pregnant women.



Yoga During Pregnancy

Although back pain during pregnancy can be a sign of a more serious condition, including labor, in most cases, it is the result of changes happening within the body.

Gone are the days when pregnancy meant becoming a couch potato.  Today, many doctors and health professionals are encouraging women to work out throughout their pregnancy.


But what exercises are safe?  One form of exercise that is favored by some medical experts and some of Hollywood’s newest moms (think, January Jones, Hilary Duff and Pink) is prenatal yoga.


Here are some beneficial prenatal yoga positions:


1. Transverse abdominal strengthening. With your abdominal muscles, hug the baby to the spine and count to 30.  Also slow, repeated pulses back toward the spine.  Barnes explained that this may prevent the abs from atrophying throughout pregnancy, often eliminates diastisis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). It also helps women push during birth and regain abdominal strength post-partum.


2. Kegals. Schlesinger recommended daily kegals, as they tone and strengthen the pelvic floor and support the growing uterus.


3. Pigeon pose. Begin in downward facing dog and bring your right knee towards your right wrist while angling your right shin under your torso.  Slide left leg back and lower the outside of your right buttock to the floor. Repeat on other side.  Schlesinger said this offers a great release due to the natural external rotation of the legs as the uterus and belly expand which may cause tightening of the piriformis muscle (lower glutes).


4. Standing poses to strengthen legs and gluteals.

• Virabadrasana I (Warrior I): From standing position, bring one leg back four feet.  Turn back foot to 45 degree angle and keep back leg straight while keeping front foot straight and bend front knee 90 degrees.  Extend arms perpendicular to floor and parallel to each other.


• Virabadrasana II (Warrior II): From standing position, bring one leg back four feet.  Turn back foot out 90 degrees, and keep back leg straight while keeping front foot straight forward and bend front knee 90 degrees.  Extend arms parallel to floor.


• Squats: Barnes said that later in pregnancy squatting helps the baby descend into the pelvis, and it’s a good position ultimately to use during the pushing stage of childbirth.  However, this should not be done if the baby is in a breech position.

Here are some poses to avoid (or modify).


1. Deep abdominal twists, which puts too much pressure on the uterus.


2. Deep back bends, such as “wheel pose.” This may cause the abdominal wall to separate.


3. Prone positions (lying on your back): According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) pregnant women may lay on their back until 20 weeks.  Afterwards, the uterus puts extra pressure on the vena cava, a vein located on the right side of the body that, when compressed, decreases blood flow back to the heart.  A semi-prone position may be used instead; elevate your back on an incline using two blocks and a bolster lying diagonally on top.

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Gone are the days when pregnancy meant sitting the whole day long on the couch for pregnant women. Yoga during pregnancy is now advocated as a safe method to avoid back pain, which is common in the majority of pregnant women. There are certain yoga poses which are advisable and certain ones to avoid. The main factor is to determine which pose or poses are compatible with your body, and which ones do not provide any discomfort. It is advisable not to force yourself to undertake a yoga pose if you have trouble in completing it.



In this video Sarah Kline of Yoga Today leads a short sequence designed to relieve lower back pain in late stages of pregnancy.




Are you pregnant and dealing with lower back, hip or pelvic pain? Here, Ashley of demonstrates a yoga pose you can try at home to help alleviate these pains.




Yoga to ease back pain during pregnancy – this video is from Prana Power Yoga teacher Taylor Wells of





lower back pain



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