Prenatal Yoga For Beginners: Stretching While Pregnant

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Updated: May 2018

Reading Time: 13 minutes

 

Prenatal Yoga For Beginners: stretching while pregnant

 

Prenatal yoga for beginners can help you relieve some of the common aches and pains you may experience during those 9 long months. It is no doubt that 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. Yet, if you have never had a child before, it is easy to romanticise the idea of a smooth and 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. Stretching while pregnant can help you. Yoga and pregnancy really are a match made in heaven!

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 and pregnancy stretches.

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

Content overview

This article will cover the following:

  • Can prenatal yoga truly help with pregnancy pains?
  • Effects pregnancy can have on the body
  • Yoga Poses To Avoid When Pregnant
  • 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 YOGA AND PREGNANCY POCKET E-GUIDE:

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Can prenatal yoga truly help with pregnancy pains?

Yes, yes and yes! Fortunately, for those of you who are expecting a lovely bundle of joy, a prenatal yoga for beginners routine will help you overcome the common problems you may experience during your pregnancy. After reading this blog, you will understand how to safely practice yoga while growing that wonderful bump.

Not only does yoga during pregnancy help strengthen your physical form, 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.

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

Yoga Poses To Avoid When Pregnant:

There are a few poses you should be careful about practicing when stretching while pregnant. For example, yoga first trimester as well as yoga in pregnancy second trimester are both especially crucial to understand. To make it easier for you, I have outlined the contra-indications for every pose. You will be able to see which asanas you can practice at certain points during your pregnancy journey.

For those of you who may explore even more poses during your pregnancy, it is important to note the yoga poses to avoid when pregnant altogether from the moment that you learn you are pregnant. Although some yogis have practiced these poses, it is recommended for the physical health of both you and your baby that you avoid particular styles of poses.

The types of yoga poses to avoid when pregnant;

  • Any twisting or compressing poses such as boat or moon pose that can limit blood flow to the uterus.
  • Prone poses where you lay on your stomach such as cobra or bow pose.
  • Stretching poses such as wheel, fish, and camel pose that can damage pregnancy-weakened joints and ligaments.
  • All complete inversions such as handstands, pincha and headstands.

 

Don’t worry if you suddenly feel disheartened or slightly nervous about stretching while pregnant. I have fully researched and outlined the best yoga poses to practice during your pregnancy so that you can overcome the common ailments, aches and pains to improve your physical and mental health for those nine long months.

Your Prenatal Yoga For Beginners Routine

By regularly performing just a few of these yoga during pregnancy stretches featured below, you will help to prepare your mind and body for labor and overcome some of the gruelling 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 [easyazon_link identifier=”B00G9FMY9A” locale=”US” tag=”vibrantyogini-20″]meditation cushion[/easyazon_link] or [easyazon_link identifier=”B018GBV5JO” locale=”US” tag=”vibrantyogini-20″]yoga block[/easyazon_link] to support you from a yoga shop.

Read more about the 5 reasons you need a yoga block to progress in your yoga practice.

“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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 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:

  • One of the best back exercises for pregnancy that helps to release 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.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant: Cat-Cow Pose (Marjariasana-Bitilasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Cat

Pregnancy Yoga Cow

 

  1. Start on all fours making sure your wrists and 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.
  • Another of the best back exercises for pregnancy that is a wonderful help 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!

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 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:

  • One of the best pregnancy back pain exercises that helps to relieve lower back pain.
  • Soothes the neck, shoulders, back, and obliques.
  • Relaxes the mind and relieves stress and anxiety.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 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.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 5: Seated Straddle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Seated

 

  1. You may feel more comfortable with a yoga block or [easyazon_link identifier=”B00G9FMY9A” locale=”US” tag=”vibrantyogini-20″ popups=”y”]cushion[/easyazon_link] 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.

Contra-indications:

  • If you suffer a lower back injury: Sit up high on a [easyazon_link identifier=”B00G9FMY9A” locale=”US” tag=”vibrantyogini-20″ popups=”y”]yoga cushion[/easyazon_link] 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 6: Yogi Squat (Malasana)

Pregnancy Yoga Malasana

 

  1. You may feel more comfortable with a yoga block or [easyazon_link identifier=”B00G9FMY9A” locale=”US” tag=”vibrantyogini-20″ popups=”y”]cushion[/easyazon_link] 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.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 7: Legs-up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Yoga first trimester: 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.
  • This pose is great for yoga first trimester only.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.”

Stretching While Pregnant 8: Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Yoga for pregnancy first trimester. 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.
  • Yoga for pregnancy first trimester only.

Contra-indications:

  • 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.

  • 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 sign up to the 12-week program today.

  • 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.

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

Please note: by signing up to Vibrant Yogini, you are opting in to receive future information regarding similar topics on yoga, mind and body wellness. You can however unsubscribe at any time. To read more about how we keep your information safe, please refer to our privacy policy.

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Prenatal Yoga For Beginners: stretching while pregnant pin 2

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:

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Wishing you a delightful and glowing pregnancy!

Namaste

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

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