Exercise for Pregnant Women: 8 Beginner-Friendly Prenatal Stretches [FREE Pregnancy Pocket e-Guide]

Share On Facebook
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Reading Time: 11 minutes


PREGNANCY is a magical and exciting time for families. The joy of bringing a beautiful little baby into the world for you to nurture, love and care for. If you have never had a child before, it is easy to romanticize the idea of a pain-free pregnancy, full of happiness and laughter. In reality, those nine enduring months can wreak havoc on the body, causing all kinds of ailments, aches, and pains.

Can prenatal yoga help with pregnancy pains? Yes, yes and yes! Fortunately, for those of you who are expecting a lovely bundle of joy, I have written this article to guide you through eight beginner-friendly and safe stretches that you can practice during your pregnancy. Most noteworthy, yoga will help you to overcome the common problems you may experience during your pregnancy.

Not only does yoga help your physical form during pregnancy, but it also encourages you to become more mindful and aware of the daily changes in your body. Prenatal yoga will be your saving grace to keep muscles strong and supple and to help you mentally and physically prepare for labor too. As your belly grows, the yoga poses will help to improve your balance and flexibility.

I actually had a lot of enjoyment writing this blog and it did make me feel rather mushy. So as a little extra, I have included as many ‘mother-to-be’ and baby-related offers, ideas, and quotes that I could find, for you to enjoy too! They are dotted throughout this guide as you read through the yoga stretches.

“Pregnancy fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty.”


Content overview

This article will cover the following:

  • Effects pregnancy can have on the body
  • Your prenatal yoga routine
    1. Wide legged forward bend
    2. Cat-cow flow
    3. Seated side bend
    4. Butterfly pose
    5. Seated straddle pose
    6. Yogi squat
    7. Legs-up-the-wall pose
    8. Happy baby pose
  • Additional extras


No time to read the post? Download the FREE PREGNANCY YOGA POCKET E-GUIDE:



“While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

Effects pregnancy can have on the body:

Pregnancy brings about a multitude of effects on the body;

  • Feeling faint – the hormonal changes occurring in the body can often lead to a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. This can cause you to feel dizzy or faint, especially if you move too quickly.
  • Constipation – During pregnancy, the hormone progesterone is increased in the body. This hormone is responsible for relaxing smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly causing constipation.
  • Cramps – Sudden sharp pains in your calves or feet are common during pregnancy, especially during the night. Cramping typically occurs when the uterus expands, causing the ligaments and muscles that support it to stretch
  • Varicose veins – As your uterus grows, it puts pressure on the large vein on the right side of the body (the inferior vena cava), which increases the pressure in your leg veins. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body will increase, adding to this burden on your veins.
  • Back pain or discomfort is common during pregnancy. Although it can be experienced at any point of your pregnancy, it most commonly occurs later in pregnancy as the baby grows.
  • Sleeplessness – Pregnancy can make you feel exhausted all day long. It can also cause insomnia at night.
  • Swollen ankles, feet, and fingers – The body will retain more fluid during pregnancy. This extra retention of fluid is needed to soften the body, which enables it to expand as the baby develops

Your Prenatal Yoga Routine

By regularly performing just a few of the yoga stretches featured below, you will help to prepare your mind and body for labor and overcome some of the grueling effects pregnancy has on the body. Become strong and healthy for your baby by starting your yoga journey today!

You may feel more comfortable in some of the poses by using a meditation cushion or yoga block to support you.

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 1: Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana I)

Pregnancy Yoga Forward

Pregnancy Yoga Forward Fold 1


  1. Stand with your legs apart, wider than your shoulders, toes facing forward.
  2. Keep your back as straight as you can; acknowledge the straight lift of your spine from your tailbone through to the top of your head.
  3. Inhale as you turn your toes slightly in and exhale to slowly bend forward, folding at your hips.
  4. Hold on to your opposite elbows and allow your torso to gently hang down. Try to shift your weight forward into your toes.
  5. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • Releases tension in the lower back.
  • Calms the mind and helps to relieve headaches, fatigue and mild depression.
  • Blood flow to the brain helps overcome feeling faint or lightheaded.


  • Consult with your doctor before doing this yoga pose if you suffer from lower back problems.


“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement, not your greatest fear.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 2: Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Cat

Pregnancy Yoga Cow


  1. Start on all fours making sure your wrists an shoulders are in line, as well as your knees and hips.
  2. Cow Pose: Inhale and look up, allowing your back to bend naturally (without placing emphasis on the lower spine).
  3. Cat Pose: As you exhale, round your spine as you tuck your rear (just like a cat stretch!), curl your torso inward (imagining that you are wrapping your torso around your baby!). Focus your gaze towards the ground and toward navel.
  4. Continue to move slowly between both poses following your breath as you inhale and exhale
  5. Repeat for 8-12 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • Helps to relieve the pressure of the weight of the belly. This pose is wonderful if you suffer from back problems during pregnancy.
  • Strengthens the stomach muscles ready for labor.
  • You can use this move to help during labor too!


  • Consult with your doctor before doing this yoga pose if you suffer from problems with your ankles, knees or wrists.


“The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 3: Seated Side Bend (Parsva Sukhasana)

Pregnancy Wood Yoga 3


  1. Cross legs comfortably in a seating position. Allow your right hand to rest comfortably on the ground in line with your hips.
  2. Stretch your left arm straight up, and then bend to the right, focusing on rotating upper torso and staying open as you gaze up towards the sky.
  3. As you bend to the side, lower onto right forearm for support.
  4. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • Relieves lower back pain.
  • Soothes the neck, shoulders, back, and obliques.
  • Relaxes the mind and relieves stress and anxiety.


  • Consult with your doctor before doing this yoga pose if you suffer from a hip, back or shoulder injury.


“The most important thing she’d learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 4: Butterfly Pose (Badhakonasana)

Pregnancy Wood Yoga 2


  1. Sit on the floor, bend your knees, and bring the soles of your feet together.
  2. Gently press the outer part of the knees towards the ground.
  3. To deepen the stretch fold your body forward from the hips, keeping your back straight and chest open to deeply stretch your hips and lower back.
  4. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • This is a nice stretch for relieving stress and tiredness.
  • Regular practice of this posture will facilitate in easing the pain related to natural childbirth.
  • The digestive organs are stimulated, helping to relieve constipation.


  • Consult with your doctor before doing this yoga pose if you are suffering from recent injury, surgery or in any pre-existing medical condition.



“The most precious jewels, you’ll ever have around your neck, are the arms of your children.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 5: Seated Straddle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Seated


  1. You may feel more comfortable with a yoga block or cushion for support in this pose.
  2. Extend both legs out wide with your feet flexed, toes facing towards the sky.
  3. Press your pelvis and hamstrings into the floor to help straighten the spine.
  4. Stay here if this is enough of a stretch for the backs of your legs, or walk your hands out in front of you, folding forward from the hips to deepen the stretch.
  5. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • This pose will help to take some of the pressure off of your lower back and will give you a break from the weight of your belly.
  • Helps strengthen the leg muscles which helps overcome cramping.
  • Lower-back injury: Sit up high on a folded blanket and keep your torso relatively upright.


  • If you suffer a lower back injury: Sit up high on a yoga cushion or a yoga block and keep your torso relatively upright.


“A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 6: Yogi Squat (Malasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Malasana


  1. You may feel more comfortable with a yoga block or cushion for support in this pose.
  2. Sit with both legs extended wide in front of you. One at a time, carefully bend your knees and place your feet close to your seat, slightly wider than hip-width.
  3. Shift your weight to your feet and raise your sitting position slightly to come into a low, wide squat. You may use your cushion or block to support your sitting position if this is more comfortable.
  4. Keep your back straight and bring both palms together between the knees.
  5. Gently press your elbows back into your inner thighs, helping you to deepen the stretch.
  6. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • Great for loosening and opening tight hips.
  • Prepares the body for giving birth.
  • Stretching of the ankle and leg muscles will help overcome cramp.


  • This pose is not recommended if you are experiencing any signs of premature labor.


“A mother’s joy begins when new life is stirring inside… when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never alone.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 7: Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Pregnancy Wood Yoga Legs up the tree 1


  1. Sit close to a wall. Lie faceup and raise legs, flexed feet face the ceiling.
  2. Move your hips until your heels and calves gently rest against the wall.
  3. From here, rest both hands either side of you with palms facing up towards the sky.
  4. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • Keeping the feet elevated helps to relieve swelling and soreness.


  • Avoid doing this yoga pose if you are more than 16 weeks pregnant. This is because the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart, causing you to feel faint.


“A new baby is the beginning of all things; wonder, hope,  and a dream of possibilities.”


Prenatal Yoga Stretch 8: Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Pregnancy Wood Happy Baby


  1. Lie flat on your back. Bend both knees and hold onto the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands.
  2. Keep your arms on the outsides of your legs.
  3. Gently use your upper body strength to equally press both knees to the floor below your armpits.
  4. Hold for a minimum of 4-6 breaths.

Pregnancy Symptoms Benefited:

  • If you suffer from foot cramps, it is nice to give your feet a little massage and squeeze during this pose.


  • As mentioned before, avoid doing this yoga pose if you are more than 16 weeks pregnant.


“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”


Additional Extras

Here are some great tools that have been recommended to me while I was writing this article. Take a read and click any of the links to learn more.

  • Instant Baby Sleep

Are you worried about being able to get your new baby to sleep? Or do you currently struggle with managing your baby’s sleep cycle? Instant Baby Sleep is an MP3 sound file that can put your baby to sleep faster and to help baby sleep through the night. There is a sample available for you to listen to; Click here to find out more.*

  • Instant Natural Colic Relief

The Bowen Technique is a very gentle, safe and simple therapy that is highly effective at easing discomfort in babies. The Bowen moves are made on specific parts of the body, such as across muscle on either side of the spine, that triggers the body’s natural responses to heal itself. It is non-invasive and so gentle that it is hard to believe anything is happening. Click here to find out more.*

  • Running Beyond Baby

Once you have gotten over the symptoms of giving birth, you may want to start some sort of exercise to help increase your energy levels and feel stronger. Running Beyond Baby is a signature 12-week comprehensive running program for mothers and mothers-to-be. It has everything you need to succeed and is 100% geared towards teaching new mothers how to train to run. Click here to find out more.*

  • Your Body After Baby

If running isn’t for you, then there is an excellent program designed for new mothers by a professional doctor who is also a mother of two. The program has been designed to overcome the impact postpartum & motherhood has on mental and physical health. In particular, it helps with combatting hormonal issues, improving relationships, and overcoming low energy levels and sleep deprivation. Click here to find out more.*



Have you downloaded the freebies yet? Get your copy of the FREE PREGNANCY YOGA POCKET E-GUIDESimply enter your email to unlock the FREE Downloads.


Connect With Vibrant Yogini

Take a picture or video next time you stretch and tag @Vibrant_Yogini on Instagram, post on the Facebook Page or email me! I would love to send you my support and love to see your stretches.

If you have any questions regarding any of the yoga poses illustrated in this blog post, please feel free to contact me for more detailed guidance and tips on how to progress with the stretches. You can send an email to the following address:

Follow Vibrant Yogini on the following social media platforms:

Vibrant Yogini Twitter Vibrant Yogini InstagramFacebook Vibrant YoginiVibrant Yogini YouTube

Sign up to Vibrant Yogini and be kept in the loop with future news, blog posts, promotions and more:


Wishing you a delightful and glowing pregnancy!



P.S. I hope you enjoyed all the quotes and baby-themed offers and ideas available through-out this article. 


* Disclaimer: In order to keep the Vibrant Yogini content free, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to click through and purchase the products I have recommended.

3 thoughts on “Exercise for Pregnant Women: 8 Beginner-Friendly Prenatal Stretches [FREE Pregnancy Pocket e-Guide]”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *