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6 Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy

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Avoid fast flowing poses in the first trimester. Avoid Boat, Moon and other twisting or compressing poses that can limit blood flow to the uterus. Avoid prone poses like Cobra, Locust, Bow, Swan. Avoid stretching poses like Wheel, Fish, and Camel that can damage pregnancy-weakened joints and ligaments. Avoid inversions. Avoid Savasana or poses where you lie flat on your back.

Pregnancy is not the time to push yourself to new yoga heights or to even do what you were capable of before getting pregnant. The goal of yoga during pregnancy is to maintain flexibility, alleviate aches like lower back pain, reduce stress and anxiety, develop breath control and to give you bonding time with your baby.

Don’t forget that your body is working hard to nurture and allow your baby to grow.  Do as much as you can, and don’t feel bad if you choose to take a nap instead!

Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy

Avoid these types of Yoga poses during pregnancy:

1. Fast Flowing Poses Or Jumping From One Position To Another

Conception is followed by a whole whirlwind of events to form complicated organ systems and body structures. In the first trimester, the upward moving energy gets disturbed and many women experience nausea.

During this time, avoid doing yoga asanas or sequences quickly. Grounding and more restorative postures are better for supporting the growing fetus and will help with the complications that could arise during this time.

Centering poses will balance and regulate the body’s energies to move in their appropriate directions.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Fast flowing or jumping from one pose to another.

2. Twisting Or Compressing Poses

After the embryo implants itself in the uterus at around week 4 of pregnancy, the placenta begins to form and eventually attaches to the uterine wall. Pay attention now and moving forward in your pregnancy to twisting or compression of the abdominal wall.

As pregnancy progresses, many asanas can start to feel restrictive and uncomfortable. Avoid or modify poses that compress the belly, as this can potentially decrease circulation or compress blood vessels and nerves that connect to the uterus.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Boat Pose, Spinal Twist towards the Knees, Moon Posture

3. Prone Poses

As you progress during your 9-month journey, it will get harder to not notice your growing bump. As the baby grows, it places pressure on the surrounding organs and squeezes them.

During this time avoid prone postures and do not lie down on your stomach. This would place additional pressure on the stomach and organs.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Cobra Posture, Locust Posture, Bow Posture, Swan Posture

4. Extreme Stretches

It’s important to pay attention to extreme stretches as you progress into the late second and third trimesters. As the secretion of relaxing increases, the ligaments soften.

In preparation for birth, your body experiences increased flexibility. Because the joints are softer and more malleable, it can lead to pelvic and joint instability and/or pulled ligaments.

Focus on stabilizing your body in each asana. Be especially aware of your knees.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Wheel Posture, Fish Posture, Camel Posture

5. Inversions

By the third trimester, your baby may have settled into your pelvis. With your growing baby, your center of gravity has changed significantly as well. Doing extreme inversions can cause dizziness in the mother. Be careful when doing these.

There are specific times when extreme inversions can help you and it is recommended that you only do it under the recommendation of an experienced professional.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Downward facing Dog posture, Shoulder or Headstand, especially if you were not proficient prior to pregnancy

6. Lying Flat On Your Back

Many yoga teachers may say do not lie on your back – even though for some, it may feel lovely! But lying flat on the back for an extended period of time can compress the inferior vena cava.

This is an important vein that returns deoxygenated blood from the lower body back to the heart. It can also aggravate lower back pain, heartburn, and elevate blood pressure.

It is okay to lie on your back for some time, but you should follow how you feel.  Change positions if you start to feel nauseous, dizzy, or uncomfortable.

Poses To Avoid/Modify: Corpse Posture

Each person has her own challenges that arise during pregnancy. Depending on what these are, you can either include or avoid certain asanas during your pregnancy. It is always important to consult with a certified yoga teacher or an ayurvedic practitioner during this time.

Vijayalakshmi Natarajan

Viji is a 21+ year veteran of the healthcare industry. As an Ayurvedic Birth Support Coach and Certified Yoga Teacher, Viji supports women through the journey of pregnancy and birth. Her knowledge, love of healing and sense of compassion has allowed her to support hundreds of families successfully achieve a healthy and happy birth journey.

Vijayalakshmi Natarajan

Viji is a 21+ year veteran of the healthcare industry. As an Ayurvedic Birth Support Coach and Certified Yoga Teacher, Viji supports women through the journey of pregnancy and birth. Her knowledge, love of healing and sense of compassion has allowed her to support hundreds of families successfully achieve a healthy and happy birth journey.