Pregnancy Yoga – Second Trimester
The Second Trimester of Pregnancy is from week 13 to 26. The placenta is fully functional and hormone levels balance out. Women at this stage in pregnancy are getting used to the feeling of pregnancy on their body.
- Listen to your body. Do what feels right for your body and take rests when you need to. Before pregnancy you may have worked hard with exercise and pushed the body to limits but now is a time to use yoga and exercise to keep the body moving but not to push yourself too hard. Pregnancy is not the time to try challenging new poses.
- As the baby grows, lying on the back can result in the baby’s weight placing pressure on the vena cava, restricting the flow of blood to the mother’s heart (usually around week 25 but take notice of any numbness or tingling when lying on the back). Prop up the spine to 45 degrees or roll onto the side of the body when in relaxation.
- Breath – use relaxed, ujjayi breath. Do not use breath that creates a pumping action in the stomach such as Kapalabhati.
- No jolting movements such as jumping into asanas
- Avoid intense abdominal work (e.g. holding plank for long lengths of time, boat poses or other more intensive core exercises)
- Minimise twisting, particularly around the waist or lower spine. Concentrate twisting to the upper back. Generally minimise any strain on twisting and just do gentle movement.
- Avoid backbends
- Balances are ok providing you feel comfortable and you don’t feel there is a risk of falling. Note that as you get bigger during pregnancy you balance will feel different so take more care.
- It is advisable to discuss doing a yoga practice with your doctor or midwife so that they can assess your individual circumstance, particularly if you did not have a yoga practice before pregnancy
Good areas of focus:
A good time to focus on strength and stamina and provide more support in the body and help with balance as the baby grows.
- Spine Alignment:
- Mountain pose (Tadasana)
- Upward Hand Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)
- Pelvic Awareness exercises:
- Bridge rolls (Setu Bandhasana)
- Sun salutations (Surya Namaskara) – modifications:
- Step back to plank (Phalakasana)
- Avoid the deep bank bends of Cobra (Bhujangasana) or Upward Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
- Integrate squats
- Standing asanas (for leg strength, hip openers)
- Tree (Vrksasana)
- Eagle (Garudasana)
- Low Lunge (Anjanesyasana)
- Crescent Pose (Ashta Chandrasana)
- Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)
- Intense Extended Side Stretch (Parvottanasana)
- Extended side angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
- Seated forward folds
- Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)
- Wide Angled Seated forward bend (Upavista Konasana)
- Revolved Head to Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana)
- Sage Bharadvaj’s Pose (Bharadvajrasana)
- One-Leg King Pigeon (Eka Pada Raj Kapotasana Prep)
- Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
- Staff pose (Dandasana)
- West Stretching Pose (Paschimottanasana with legs wide)
- Sage Marichi’s Pose (Marichyasana)
- Head to Knee pose (Janu Sirsasana)
- Reclined Revolve Pose (Supta Parivartanasana)
Prop up the spine to 45 degrees or roll onto the side of the body when in relaxation once there is more risk of laying on the back. For example when in corpse (savasana) or reclining butterfly (supta baddha konasana).
You can also explore the asanas and props used in the third trimester*.
*Keep a eye on the space for the upcoming articles from the series!!!
Written by Sarah Williams. Sarah is a Qualified Yoga Teacher based in London with an online presence on Instagram and Facebook. She also blogs about yoga and health & well being topics on her website. Sarah’s focus is Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles of yoga and she completed part of her training in India. https://sarahlucyyoga.wixsite.com/yoga, @sarahlucyyoga
She has recently completed her 300 hr advanced teacher training from Sampoorna Yoga Goa. If interested in Yoga Teacher Training please browse our Teacher Training page – Yoga Teacher Training Courses.