Yoga Poses Throughout Your Pregnancy
First of all Congratulations! You’re emotionally thrilled; but physically you may be dealing with nausea and fatigue. Child’s Pose and Downward Facing Dog pose are two great postures for helping you feel better these first three months. I had very bad nausea in my first trimester and yoga and walks outdoors were two things that definitely made me feel better. I skied in Idaho in December as well and the mountain air did wonders for me. If you do feel nauseas and tired, it’s tempting to skip movement; but you will feel better afterwards I promise.
Child’s pose helps when your tummy is upset, it also helps you unwind if you’re feeling anxious or stressed or nervous. Stretching out the hips, back and shoulders will relieve tension and help you sleep better and also feel more rejuvenated. Come on to all fours and walk your feet and knees together then hinge back on to your heels as you stretch your arms forward. Feel your lower back release, let the forehead melt in to the floor and take 8 to 10 deep full inhalations and exhalations.
Downward Facing Dog is an incredible pose. It stretches the entire body and it gets the blood flowing. Often times we don’t feel like moving when we are fatigued or nauseas; but moving and stretching out the body makes us feel so much better. From Child’s pose roll back up to all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your hips up and back. Press firmly in to your hands, let your head relax, use your abs and thighs to pull the weight up and back. Hold 5 to 8 breaths, lower down, then come back up again 1 or 2 more times.
By now you will start to feel 100% better! Your energy will be back up and you’ll feel excited to share your great news with everyone. Your bump is forming and you want to start to avoid lying on your belly and deep twists that cross the midline. I’m 6 months in to my pregnancy and I feel absolutely great. I can still do a majority of everything I’ve done in the past–from chaturangas to headstands. Listen to your body, though, and do what feels right for you.
Two of my favorite postures to do now are Warrior 2 and Wide Straddle Forward Bend with a twist.
Warrior 2 is a great way to strengthen your legs, hips, buttocks, pelvic floor and arms. We need to keep our bodies strong for labor and once we have our little ones so we can carry them and support them properly. Stand sideways on your mat with your legs a length leg apart. Turn your right toes forward 90 degrees and your left toes in about 45 degrees. Bend your right knee deeply as your stretch your arms out to shoulder height. Gaze over your right hand, make sure your knee doesn’t roll inwards, engage your lower abdominals and pelvic floor and hold for 5 to 8 breaths. Straighten our your right leg turn the toes in and repeat on the opposite side.
After Warrior 2 on your left side, straighten both legs and turn your feet directly forward or slightly pigeon toe. Hinge forward from your hips and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders coming in to Standing Straddle Forward Bend. Hold here a few breaths then place your left hand in the center of your mat and turn your right arm up to twist. Keep your back level and turn from your upper back and shoulder. This is a safe open twist that can be done throughout your entire pregnancy. I love how it stretches open the back, hips, waist, spine and shoulders. It also brings a lot of oxygen in to the lungs and eliminates any soreness in the body.
You’re almost to the end; and now’s the time to really prepare your body for labor and childbirth. Hip openers are great poses to do this trimester; they will open up your pelvis and help you connect to your pelvic floor muscles. I’m praying I have an easy delivery and my open hips, strong core and deep breathing will help me during labor.
Pigeon is one of my favorite hip openers. From Downward Facing Dog, pull your right knee forward to the front of your mat so you knee is towards your right wrist and the foot is towards the left wrist. You’re trying to bring your shin parallel to the front of the mat. Lift your chest open your heart before you walk your hands forward and fold your forehead to the floor. Hold here for at least 8 to 10 breaths. Lift your chest then step back to downward dog and switch sides.
After pigeon on your left side, swing your right leg forward and around and stack your right shin over your left shin coming in to Double Pigeon. Walk your hands forward and fold in to your legs. Double Pigeon is a huge stretch for the outer hips, piriformis muscles and buttocks. If you can learn to breathe and deal with the discomfort in the hips in double pigeon, you will be a pro when it comes to giving birth!
Bonus pose to practice any trimester—TREE! As your baby grows, your center of gravity will shift, it’s important to keep working on your balance. Tree is the perfect pose to help you find balance, focus, grounding and inner support. Have fun with this pose and notice how it changes as your belly grows. Also, pay attention to the steadiness and confidence it gives you. You can feel your roots staying grounded and firm as your branches start to lengthen and grow in new directions.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!