At a glance: This article briefs about why prenatal yoga is beneficial for expectant mothers, the benefits yoga provides, and a few safe and helpful yoga poses you can practise during the first trimester of your pregnancy.
No pregnancy goes by without troubles. Some women may experience much discomfort, while others have a little less. Nevertheless, all women have at least a few bothering issues during pregnancy.
Diet and exercise are like two pillars helping expectant mothers to stay physically and mentally healthy during pregnancy. While walking is the most popular and recommended exercise, prenatal yoga is fast catching up due to the wonderful benefits it can provide you.
Some of the benefits yoga provides include flexibility in your muscles, pain management, strengthening of the lower body, dealing with minor ailments like constipation and morning sickness, and relieving stress and anxiety.
Anything you do during pregnancy must be given enough thought so that it does not harm you or your baby. Hence, we have compiled yoga poses that are not only beneficial but also safe to do during pregnancy.
Why is prenatal yoga helpful during the first trimester of your pregnancy?
The first trimester can be overwhelming, with various new physical changes and emotional ups and downs. However, yoga can be incredibly useful during this transformative phase of the first trimester. It enhances not only physical flexibility but also promotes emotional balance.
There are poses specifically useful for early pregnancy that can help manage morning sickness, ease fatigue, and promote tranquillity. Additionally, practising yoga can help create a peaceful environment for your baby within the womb and deepen your connection with them.
Common problems during the first trimester which yoga can help with
Yoga can help ease discomfort and provide support during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some minor health issues during the first trimester prenatal yoga can help with are:
- NAUSEA: Many women experience nausea during early pregnancy, also known as morning sickness. Gentle yoga poses can alleviate these symptoms as they help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
- FATIGUE: Then comes fatigue, hitting you like a surprise wave. Pregnancy can be exhausting, especially in the early months. Restorative poses like ‘Balasana’ or Child’s Pose can help replenish your energy reserves and induce restful sleep.
- MOOD SWINGS: You are entering an unknown arena with frequent issues like nausea and constipation. In addition, your hormones go whacky, especially during the first trimester. Hence, it is pretty common to have mood swings and what better way than yoga to manage them? Yoga is a natural way to regulate your emotions and help you navigate through mood swings. By practising simple yoga poses such as ‘Savasana’ or Corpse Pose, you can calm your mind and achieve emotional stability.
- PAIN RELIEF: The ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch during pregnancy. This is your body’s way of preparing itself for labour. However, you are new to such changes, which may cause pain in several body parts. Poses that gently stretch and strengthen muscles, like the ‘Sukhasana’ or Easy Pose, can provide relief.
- RELAXATION: As mentioned earlier, pregnancy is a roller-coaster ride throwing excitement and anxiety in quick succession. Hence, knowing how to relax your body and mind is crucial to enjoying your pregnancy period. Yoga and mindful meditation are one of the few effective ways to relieve stress and anxiety in pregnant women.
Beneficial and Safe Yoga Poses for First Trimester
The initial three months of your pregnancy may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. With proper guidance and specific yoga poses, you can traverse this period too with little discomfort. Let’s discover some safe and suitable yoga poses for this delicate stage.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Tadasana appears simple but is the foundation of all standing poses and is a safe yoga pose for the first trimester of pregnancy. Promoting balance and stability, this simple asana helps to ground you amidst all the hormonal changes. It also helps align your body and improve balance when your body’s centre of gravity is shifting with the growing belly.
Stand tall, feet hip-distance apart, and engage your core. Visualize drawing strength from the earth and spreading it throughout your body.
2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
This empowering pose not only strengthens your legs and opens your hips but also instils confidence. It strengthens your lower back, arms, and legs and also improves stability.
Building the strength of your lower body is crucial when delivering the baby, and the warrior pose is one of the best poses to strengthen your lower back, thighs, and legs. In addition, practising this from the first trimester prepares your body well to handle the difficulties during labour.
Step one foot back, bending the front knee. Extend your arms in line with your shoulders, gaze over your front hand, and feel your warrior strength!
3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
As much as you need strength during pregnancy, it would help if you also had the flexibility to dodge pain in various parts. Beneficial for relieving backache, Trikonasana also stretches and opens the side body. In addition, it helps stretch and strengthen the legs, which is helpful during labour.
From Warrior II, straighten your front leg, reach forward with your front hand, and gently place it on your shin or a block, extending the other arm towards the sky.
4. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)
This delightful duo alleviates discomfort by stretching the spine and hips, promoting flexibility. Whenever you feel stiffness or ache in the lower back, practise the cat-cow pose for super relief. In addition, it can aid in digestion and may relieve nausea, also called morning sickness.
On all fours, arch your back while inhaling for the cow pose, and round your spine while exhaling for the cat pose.
5. Child’s Pose (Balasana)
An ultimate calming pose, Balasana helps you to connect with your breath and baby. A popular relaxation pose, balasana also aids digestion, eases nausea and relieves constipation during the first trimester. Particularly for women with nausea, you may vomit whatever little you eat, and it might severely affect your bowel movements. Practising the child’s pose morning and evening will help regularise bowel movements.
Kneel, bring your big toes together, separate your knees and fold forward, extending your arms in front. If you cannot get your head down, keep a bolster for support and rest your forehead on it.
6. Supported supta baddha konasana
This is a restorative yoga pose that is safe during the entire pregnancy period and can help bring a relaxed feeling to your lower body and calm your mind.
It also relieves lower back aches and strengthens thighs and pelvic muscles. In addition, practising this asana before bed enables you to sleep well.
As the belly grows, you may find it uncomfortable to lie down in supta baddha konasana, so support yourself with blocks or blankets under your hip and head.
Bring your toes together, feel the stretch in your groin area, and slowly go to a supine position supporting yourself with pillows or blankets. Breathe deeply and feel calm in your body and mind.
7. Supported Savasana
Another fantastic asana to help women who find it difficult to fall asleep. Savasana can help relax the mom-to-be’s entire body, switching off the sympathetic nervous system and drifting into a restful sleep.
Regular savasana might not feel comfortable as your belly grows. Instead, use a bolster or folded blankets to support your upper body, allowing you to lean back safely and enjoy deep relaxation.
Alternatively, you can also lie on your side and feel relaxed.
Yoga poses to avoid during the first trimester
Safety is paramount during pregnancy, so being aware of the don’ts is equally important as knowing the dos.
Practising prenatal yoga is awesome, but know what poses to avoid. The following are best avoided to prevent damage to yourself and your baby.
- Intense backbends and forward bends
- Poses involving forceful contractions of your abdomen
- Poses that may put pressure on your belly
Training with an expert is recommended before creating a customised routine for yourself. You may also take online prenatal yoga classes from trusted yoga teachers.
It can be highly beneficial and rewarding to start practising yoga during the first trimester of pregnancy. This can greatly assist with the entire pregnancy. By practising each of the recommended poses, you’ll be able to develop physical strength, emotional balance, and a strong bond with your baby.
However, it is important to remember that each person’s pregnancy journey is different. Although these poses are generally safe, they may not be suitable for everyone. Hence, paying attention to your body and adjusting the poses to fit your comfort level is important. If a posture causes discomfort, exit it gently.
The objective is not to perfect every pose but to discover inner peace amid the chaos, develop strength in your vulnerability, and appreciate every aspect of this wonderful journey. More importantly, learn from a yoga expert before practising on your own.
So, pay attention to your body’s cues, accept the changes that come with motherhood, and use yoga as a supportive tool on this amazing journey.