Often, the moment a woman tells her family that she is pregnant, the whole family becomes paranoid about her health. They are full of kind suggestions like, “don’t walk too fast,” “don’t go there,” “don’t bend,” “don’t move.” Suddenly, she becomes fragile in their eyes.
A woman’s body indeed goes through many changes to accommodate and nurture a new life. But it is also true that staying active during these nine months can help her to deal with pregnancy-related problems like stress, anxiety, mood swings, constipation, morning sickness, swollen ankles and leg cramps and prepare her body for childbirth.
Barring complicated pregnancies, a woman should exercise for most of her pregnancy (taking care to avoid exercise during the crucial period from week 10-14). Yoga has some asanas to keep the body flexible and open up the pelvic region. Deep breathing exercises can keep the mind and body relaxed, which further prepares a pregnant woman for labour and childbirth.
Before you try these five yoga poses for pregnant women, please check with your doctor and please practice these with a trained teacher to make sure you do these poses correctly.
Cat and cow pose
- Most women can do this pose in the first trimester. After that, please check your comfort and ability before attempting this posture.
- Come on all fours in a tabletop position.
- Your knees should be under your hips and your hands should be under your shoulders.
- Keep your head relaxed and your gaze soft.
- Breathe in, sink your stomach towards the ground. Lift your head and tilt it backwards.
- Hold this pose for a few breaths. Exhale and come back to the tabletop position.
- Take a deep breath and move your chin towards your chest.
- Arch your back and relax your hips.
- Stay in this pose for a few breaths before coming back to the tabletop position once again.
- Repeat four to five times.
- Sit straight with your legs stretched out in front of you.
- As you breathe out, bend your knees and bring your heels close to your pelvic area.
- Join the soles of both feet, bring down the knees and thighs to touch the ground.
- Clasp your feet and feel the stretch in your inner thighs and pelvic area.
- Remain in this pose for 1-2 minutes.
Warrior pose I
- Stand straight at the top of your mat. Try to keep your feet together.
- Next, take a step back with your left leg. Your left foot should be partially turned out.
- Now, gently bend your right knee.
- Breathe in as you slowly raise your arms overhead and join your palms together in namaskar mudra.
- If you can, arch your back gently and fix your eyes on the fingers.
- Hold the pose for 10 to 15 deep, slow breaths.
- Now bring your hands down while breathing out slowly.
- Come back to the beginning position.
- Relax for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
Viparita Karani or legs-up-the-wall pose
- Place your mat next to a wall.
- Sit on the corner closest to the wall.
- As you lie down, raise your legs and place them against the wall. Try to touch your lower back on the mat.
- Breathe deeply and hold this pose for a few minutes.
- Lie flat on your back. Avoid using a cushion or pillow.
- Keep your body in a relaxed position. Your legs should be comfortably apart from each other with your toes flopped to the sides.
- Keep your hands a bit distant from your body, relaxed and open.
- Forget all the stress and negativity and concentrate on your breath.
- Starting from the feet, move your awareness upward to the other body parts.
- Feel relaxed and buoyant with every breath.
- Drop all the anxiety and worries about the outer world, and follow only your breath.
- After remaining in this relaxed state for up to 15 minutes, turn to your right side. Stay in this position for a minute or two and then sit up in siddhasana – sit cross-legged with the back of your hands on each knee; touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of your thumb.
- Keep your eyes closed for a few breaths and become aware of your surroundings and then open your eyes.
Precautions for yoga during pregnancy:
- Avoid yoga asanas that put pressure on the abdomen area during the last few months of pregnancy.
- Standing yoga poses are best done during the first trimester of the pregnancy. They strengthen the legs and reduce leg cramps.
- During the second and third trimester, practice breathing exercises and meditation more.
- Do not practice yoga from the 10th to the 14th week of pregnancy.
- Avoid doing inversion poses.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read Yoga and Yogasana.