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Prenatal Yoga Precautions for a Safer Practice

Prenatal Yoga Precautions for a Safer Practice

Hints and precautions for your practice A general rule:

- This is a time to practise with mindfulness – no forcing or straining, be gentle with your body and your baby

- Stay within your comfort zone

- Trust your body & listen to your body – it will tell you if a posture or movement feels ok, modify as need be

- If you are not sure, always be on the side of caution

- It is normal to feel fatigued – rest is essential in preparation for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Drop into child’s pose whenever you need it and know it is ok to come out of a posture early and stay hydrated during practice


No postures on the belly, especially after the first trimester, as this could block blood flow to the uterus and placenta

- no cobra

- no salabhasana (locust pose)

- no dhanurasana (bow pose)


Avoid strong abdominal work – keep the frontal rectus abdominis muscles soft to allow space for your baby to grow and reduce diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles)

- no navasana (boat pose). Instead, be on all fours and inhale to fill the belly and as you exhale, gently pull your belly to your spine. Short holds in full plank or modified plank (knees down) are ok.


Avoid Deep Backbends – they put too much strain on frontal abdominal tissues and can lead to tearing of the linea alba, a condition called diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles)

- no deep Ustrasana (Camel pose), keep hands on the lower back and lift from the heart as opposed to dropping back

- no Urdhva Dhanurasana (full wheel). Bridge Pose is fine.


Twists/Spinal Rotations

- gentle rotations are fine and can feel great on the spine. Be sure to rotate from the upper spine. The general rule is to keep your navel centre facing forward - modify with an open twist. Balancing

- standing balances such as tree pose and king dancer are great; if wobbly - practice with your hand at a wall for stability.



- If you are new to yoga, this is not a time to learn advanced or inverted posture.

- If you currently have a strong practice, you can continue to practise inversions if they feel good but practice with the support of a wall for stability and confidence

 - Do not hold any inversion, including Downward Facing Dog, for more than a few breaths as you are encouraging the flow of blood to move away from the uterus and your baby


Lying on your back

- be guided by your own comfort. Some women feel great on their backs at seven months; others no longer feel comfortable at three months. The inferior vena cava can be compressed and may cause dizziness. If it feels right, a few minutes is fine for practising bridge pose or a short sivasana.

- It is preferable to lie on the left-hand side with a pillow in between the knees to stabilise the pelvis



- squats are great for opening the pelvis and reducing pressure on the lower spine. They also promote the elasticity of the perineum and vaginal tissue.

- Squatting should be avoided if you have the following:

  • An incompetent cervix
  • Premature dilation of the cervix
  • Preterm labour
  • Separated symphysis pubis
  • Knee problems
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Discomfort at any time (more likely towards the end of 3rd trimester)

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