Yoga poses to avoid when pregnant

Are you a yogini who recently discovered that you are busy growing a baby in your belly?

Are you now concerned that you won’t be able to practice yoga during your pregnancy?

We have extremely good news for you. Our article will provide you with all the information you need to be able to safely engage in asanas throughout all of the trimesters.

The Safety of Yoga During Pregnancy

If practiced safely, and with caution, yoga can be carried out for the entire duration of your pregnancy cycle. There are few considerations that have to be taken to heart like, informing your instructor beforehand, and if they are qualified to instruct pregnant women.


Some of the considerations that Momma would have to bear in mind are:

Change in Balance

When you find yourself in trimesters two and three, you will experience some difficulty in not being as stable on your feet as you would normally be without a baby bump. As your baby grows, your entire center of gravity will also be out of equilibrium sync.

Move between asanas slowly and carefully. It is perhaps a good idea to harness a chair or wall as a workout buddy during these weeks.

Safety in Stretching

Whilst expectant the body of the mother produces a protein hormone called Relaxin. The function of this hormone is to relax the pelvis and widen the cervix in preparation for the baby’s arrival. 

The pitfall of this hormone is that it softens the ligaments between your joints, and in this way, you can easily over-stretch yourself without even noticing. Therefore it is imperative that you do not push or force yourself in any manner, and stop as soon as you experience any pain or discomfort whatsoever.

After the 16-week pregnancy benchmark, you are also not to lie on your back.

Bikram Yoga

Hot yoga, otherwise known as Bikram yoga and its related poses are also to be avoided completely. Working out in a heated room is not good for you or your baby.

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Support. The positive influence that yoga can bring to a pregnant female’s body can be seen as an invisible pillow of support throughout her pregnancy. During both the prenatal and postnatal phases the body changes often and sometimes drastically in terms of velocity.

Prenatal yoga can assist with strengthening the lower muscles to aid the growing belly.

Toning. Regular practice of yoga during pregnancy will tone the pelvic floor, hip muscles, and abdominal core muscles, supporting preparedness for when the bundle of joy needs to be delivered.

A toned muscle is determined by the fine balance it maintains between its length and strength.

When the muscles are properly toned in the pregnancy months, it can assist with any pains and aches that the mother experiences and can also act as a catalyst in the first few postnatal weeks, in getting the mother’s shape back, pre-pregnancy.

Labor and Delivery Preparedness. The natural reaction for a human is to tighten up when they get frightened. Prenatal yoga classes can assist in preparing the mother for the birthing process and assisting her in opening up and being more receptive thereof.

Our bodies already know what it needs to do, and if the mother-to-be intends on having a birth that is natural, and without any form of sedative, yoga can assist in taking her to calm place in her mind through different diaphragmatic breathing techniques.

A Deeper Bond Between Mother and Baby.  Through deeper belly breathing and taking time out of your busy schedule as a mom to be, will solidify a deeper connection between you and your baby.

Promotes relief against common pregnancy ailments. Meditative yoga can help alleviate some of the side-effects linked to pregnancy such as vomiting and nausea, insomnia, headaches, etc.  

The deep breathing associated with yoga practice will bring more oxygen to both mom and baby. It is important to note that the symptoms will not disappear entirely, but will rather equip mom to be able to cope with it better.

Healthier Pregnancy. Results yielded from studies conducted in the year 2012, have shown that mothers-to-be who engage in regular yoga practices throughout their pregnancy are less likely to have any preterm labor or babies that are of lower birth weight.

Networking Opportunities. Finding a studio to attend classes or via an online platform, will afford the pregnant mom to engage in conversation with other mothers-to-be going through the exact same experiences and bodily changes. 

Sharing your specific ailments and circumstances will provide you with a cushion in the form of a relevant support group. Sometimes we all find it easier and better to talk to complete strangers, that understand what we are going through, as they are in the same boat.

Celebrities That Swear By Prenatal Yoga

Gwyneth Paltrow. This famous Friends actress, practiced Ashtanga yoga with both of her pregnancies. She cites that it not only showed her that she possessed strength she never had, it also changed her psychological outlook on life completely.

Drew Barrymore. The childhood E.T star, says that prenatal yoga has helped reduce her cravings for copious amounts of carbs during both her pregnancies.

Jessica Alba. This gorgeous actress with the forever glowing skin credits yoga with helping to make both her birthing processes easier and she has incorporated this into her holistic lifestyle. She is also an advocate of utilizing yoga props during her workouts.

Hilaria Baldwin. Yogi teacher and wife of actor Alec Baldwin. She released a prenatal yoga DVD and roped in her famous hubby to help. He even has a favorite asana called Happy Baby.

Yoga Poses to Avoid When Pregnant

The following listicle of yoga asanas are to be avoided in totality during your pregnancy as a whole:

Revolved Side Angle Pose. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (PAHR-ee-VREE-tah PARZH-vuh-ko-NAHS-uh-nuh). This pose requires the yogini to twist along her midsection. This pose should be ceased as soon as the baby bump is present, as it cramps the baby’s growth space.

Full Wheel/Upward-Facing Bow. Urdhva Dhanurasana (OORD-vah-don-your-AHS-anna). If you are familiar with this pose, you can continue practicing it, until it no longer becomes comfortable.  If you are starting out, it’s recommended to move it aside to be revisited later.

Bow Pose. Dhanurasana (DAHN-yoor-AHS-uh-nuh). Upon entering your second trimester, it is advisable to not engage in any activity or exercises that require you to lie face down. 

Chaturanga into Upward-Facing Dog. Urdvha Mukha Shvanasana (OORD-vah Moo-kuh shvan-AHS-uh-nuh) This is also one of the poses that can be practiced until the later stages of your pregnancy. However, later into the second trimester, this asana should be left out of your exercise regime.

The weight of your belly might not permit you to lift your pelvis up to be able to perform the poses properly.

Forward Fold. Uttanasana (oot-tan-AHS-anah). You will not be able to bend forward due to the size and weight of your growing baby in your belly.

Twisted Chair Pose. Parivrtta Utkanasana (PAHR-ee-VREE-tah OOT-kuh-TAHS-uh-nuh) Again, any yoga poses that might restrict the space that the baby needs to move, has to be avoided at all cost.

Unpacking Suggested Asanas per Trimester

First Trimester

In some instances, moms-to-be might experience symptoms of nausea and fatigue. Some pregnant yoginis might not even show the entire duration of the first trimester.

It is advised that it’s not ideal to enter into yoga practice in the first trimester of your pregnancy. However, if you already practice yoga pre-pregnancy, you are permitted to continue but avoid the yoga poses mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Avoid jumping, rather move slower into transition moves. Enquire from your yoga teacher or a qualified maternity yoga teacher on suitable substitutions and poses that you are permitted to practice.

Sit close to an open doorway or bring a small, portable fan that you can place near your mat. Keep that bottle of water handy to remain hydrated at all times.

Rest often in child pose or any other seated position that is comfortable to you. Try to avoid inversions like handstands etc, due to the risk of falling.

Lastly, try and identify a pose that you are comfortable in doing. Practice this pose to make up for the ones that you are not able to perform if you find yourself in a yoga class.

Approved first trimester poses include:

  • Warrior
  • Crescent Lunge
  • Side Angle pose
  • Standing-balancing poses
  • Any open seated twists
  • Poses that open the hips
  • Cat-cow pose and other gentle abdominal asanas
  • Back stretches, with the exception of the deeper backbends

Second Trimester

The majority of expectant yoginis start their yoga journey in the second trimester of their pregnancy. The state of pregnancy normally places the mother in that of low blood sugar. 

Everything in your body starts to function at a more rapid pace, to provide nourishment to the growing baby in your belly. You will also find that you will feel good and more energized in this trimester as well.

It’s recommended to consume a protein snack approximately one hour prior to engaging in yoga practice. You can also follow all the tips that were provided for the first trimester.

If you are experiencing difficulty in performing the poses, try widening your legs to see if that might help. Avoid the asanas completely that focus on core stability, as this might cause you to compress veins.

Lastly, harness the power of any yoga props that you might have to enhance your routine.

Approved second trimester poses include:

  • Side Leg Raise
  • Warrior Pose
  • Triangular Pose
  • Side Angle Pose
  • Standing Upward Stretch
  • Palm Tree Pose
  • Downward Dog
  • Neck Rolls

Third Trimester

This is the uncomfortable phase of pregnancy for most women. Whilst you engage in yoga you might have a difficult time breathing properly, and your joints will also be very loose.

Obtaining the optimum balance is increasingly difficult and the very basic of asanas might become a challenge to execute, even with the aid of various yoga props at your disposal.

Anything from six months onward into your pregnancy, you can try to prop your heart and head up when performing asanas

Apply the same tips and guidelines as provided in the first and second trimesters. And enjoy the journey in exploring asanas that you are able to perform during your last trimester, and have fun with them.

Approved third trimester poses include:

  • Goddess Pose
  • Bridge Pose
  • Wide-Legged Child Pose
  • Legs up the Wall Pose
  • Savasana I (on your side)
  • Savasana II (on your back)


Each and every person’s journey is different during their pregnancy. Find your middle ground, by engaging in the poses that work for you as an individual. Those are the poses that make you relax and connect with your baby on a deeper level. Enjoy every moment of your journey! Namaste!

Quote of the day:

“Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within”