Poses to avoid during pregnancy
1. REVOLVED SIDE ANGLE POSE
Pretty much as soon as you see a bump, or beyond the first trimester, you want to stop doing exercises that require you to twist along the midline. Baby is trying to grow in there and you don’t want to cramp his/her space.
MODIFICATION: SUPPORTED SIDE ANGLE
Instead of doing revolved side angle, you can simply perform a regular side angle pose, opening up to one side. Use your bottom arm to support you instead of bringing the palm all the way to the ground. This will also help you open up the chest more.
2. FULL WHEEL
Full wheel actually isn’t completely off limits during pregnancy…if you’re used to doing it. If you are very comfortable in the pose and it is part of your regular practice, you can continue doing it until it no longer feels comfortable. However, every pregnancy is different. And again, this is not the time to push yourself to try new poses.
MODIFICATION: BRIDGE POSE
If full wheel is not in your practice or you simply don’t feel comfortable doing it, sticking with bridge pose is your best option.
Another possible option, which will give you a similar heart-opening effect, is Upward Plank. Just make sure you’re feeling strong enough to support the weight in your mid-section.
And remember, every day is different — what feels good one day may not the next!
3. BOW POSE
After your first trimester, it’s best to avoid lying face down. That makes any poses on your stomach a no-no. When your class is doing bow pose or other belly-down series, it’s natural to not know what to do — but you have options!
MODIFICATION: CAMEL POSE
Camel pose is a great alternative that allows you to get in a heart-opening stretch and work the back. To modify this, you can also place your hands on your lower back/butt for support.
One legged bow pose.
4. CHATURANGA TO UPWARD-FACING DOG
Chaturanga to upward-facing dog is usually fine to do until late in your pregnancy, when the weight of the stomach may prevent you from keeping your pelvis raised. You may also find that the size of your stomach prevents you from completing a vinyasa sequence.
MODIFICATION: CHATURANGA TO UPWARD-FACING DOG ON BLOCKS
To keep your belly from hitting the ground, perform the sequence on blocks. You can also come down on your knees if the weight is too heavy to support.
At some point, the stretching of upward-facing dog may be too much for your stomach and at that point, you’ll want to skip it and transition straight into downward dog.
5. FORWARD FOLD
It’s pretty obvious why you’d want to avoid a full forward fold during pregnancy, but this pose can easily be modified.
MODIFICATION: WIDE LEG FORWARD FOLD
Simply spread your legs wide before coming down into your fold to give the belly room to relax.
6. TWISTED CHAIR.
Again, twisting at the midline should be avoided from about the first trimester on. However, you can still get in the benefits of this version of chair pose. Open Twists
MODIFICATION: WIDE LEG CHAIR WITH A HEART-OPENER
To modify twisted chair pose, simply widen your stance and use the bottom arm for support across your knees. Raise the top arm to a comfortable position to open the chest a bit.
Another option is to simply remain in a regular chair pose while the class twists.
COMMON PRENATAL YOGA QUESTIONS
Before you go, there are a few topics I want to address regarding common prenatal yoga concerns.
Any pregnant woman should consult with their doctor before embarking any physical activity. Most will advise you to avoid inversions during the first trimester. Simple inversions like bug pose or legs up against the wall, will get the same results
Core work. Aside from crunching and twisting, many core exercises are safe during pregnancy. You want to avoid compressing your baby’s space, but exercises like plank and other isometric moves are totally fine.
Lying on your back past about 20 weeks, is generally not recommended. Talk to your doctor about it and do what is best for you. Once you reach 20 weeks of pregnancy, poses on your back lasting for more than 90 seconds should be limited. As your baby and uterus grow in the second and third trimesters, extra pressure is placed on your vena cava, the main vein that carries blood from your lower body back to your heart. During exercise, this can lead to lowered blood pressure and dizziness. Modify these postures by propping your back up on bolsters supported by blocks or by lying on your side instead.
Again, the most important part of a healthy pregnancy is consulting with a physician. Other important factors are a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and most of all self care.