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What Yoga Poses You Can Do in Your First Trimester

There are many poses out there that are safe and easy for pregnant women in their first trimester to try.

November 4, 2019
Lia Herman

The beginning of a pregnancy is an exciting time, and health becomes a much greater concern. So if you’re an expert in yoga who wants to continue in a safe way, or are starting up yoga just for you and your baby’s health, here’s what you can do when you get on the mat. 

Should I Do Yoga in My First Trimester?

Yoga can be very helpful for some pregnancies, and impossible for others. If you’re interested in starting or continuing yoga in a pregnancy, listening to your body is key. 

If you already take a class and want to stay in it, that’s great! But for the safety of yourself and the baby, inform your instructor about the pregnancy so they can modify your practice. If you want to remain discreet about your pregnancy, let your instructor know that so they can modify your practice in a private manner.

Being new to yoga is not a problem. You can find a parental yoga class to join, or do the simple poses without the pressures of the public in the privacy of your home.

Listen to Your Body

Every pregnancy is different, and you need to respect the cues your body is giving every day. Morning sickness and fatigue are common examples of the sort of clues that are telling you to take it easy, and maybe skip yoga for the day. Be cautious when you feel any discomfort, and don’t push yourself. 

Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes, including an increase in hormones. 

This Pose is Called the Pregnant Woman

There are modified poses that are deemed safe for pregnant women in their first trimester, and there are poses that contain too much risk and should be avoided, even this early on. Because the first trimester involves a lot of change and risk, don’t expect to be doing anything elaborate. Before getting started, familiarize yourself with the effect each pose will have on your body. 

Belly Down

Yoga involves several belly down poses, some of which are safe to practice. You don’t want to put pressure on the uterus, so the bow and locust poses should be avoided. Try instead the cobra pose, which doesn’t apply an excessive amount of pressure on the stomach if you’re actively using your legs and grounding the pelvis. 

A woman performing a cobra pose on a city balcony. Woman's arms push her body up and curves her back.
The Cobra Pose is safe and simple as it keeps the pressure off of the uterus

 

The Poses that Dig Deep

Many yoga poses involve twisting and bending into positions that feel so good, it feels like you’re stretching parts of your body you never even knew needed stretching. Unfortunately these poses aren’t ideal for the changes occurring in a pregnant body. Even in your early stages of pregnancy, it’s best to avoid the deep belly twists that compress your internal organs. If you want to be twisting anything, focus on the upper back. This also applies to deep backbends that should be attempted with caution, if at all. 

Who Needs Abs When You’re Getting a Baby?

Ab workouts will be helpful in future trimesters, because pushing out a baby will be your biggest core workout yet. However the risk of miscarriage is high in the first trimester, and while ab workouts aren’t proven to increase that risk, ab strengthening poses should be avoided at this stage.

Breath Control

There is the type of yoga called pranayama that is about the regulation and control of breathing. This can be great, because as we all know, breathing is an important part of childbirth. During labor you may be breathing in through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth. It’s good to practice this, and it may help you maintain the pain of contractions. You can also try alternating nostril breathing. What you should avoid however is breath retention and deep forceful movements that would disturb your belly. 

A woman sitting on a yoga mat, her legs crossed and hands resting on her knees. Her eyes are closed.
Close your eyes, get comfortable, and focus on your breathing. Meditation is good for pregnancy

Simple and Rejuvenating

Restorative poses are simple and completely effective in calming your body. You can go about these poses at the pace you like to ensure your comfort. Take it slow and relax. Mastering poses such as the Child’s Pose, the Corpse Pose and the Reclining Bound Angle Pose will help you achieve confidence and comfort. You may find it difficult to relax during such an exciting time, and if you’re ever feeling overworked or over-stressed, try a couple restoration poses to reset and calm down. 


Yoga is for anyone and everyone, not excluding the pregnant. Pregnancy only means you need to pay closer attention to what your body is telling you. So roll out your mat and strike a pose!


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