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15 Prenatal Yoga Poses That Will Greatly Benefit Your Pregnancy

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With pregnancy, comes a whole host of lifestyle changes that you have to adopt and one of them being your exercise regime.

Whether you were a gym fanatic or a couch potato prior to your pregnancy, you might find yourself having to switch gears when you are pregnant.

As with the advice issued by gynecologists in Singapore and all around the world, exercise is always highly encouraged during gestation as it helps prepare you and baby for labour.

Having said that, there are exercises you should definitely avoid during the nine months as the little one grows in your belly.

With studies showing prenatal yoga chalking up much benefits for both pregnant mothers and baby, it is no wonder prenatal yoga has become the go-to exercise for many mummies-to-be.

Read also: 15 Best Prenatal Yoga Studios in Singapore

That said, just which are the best prenatal yoga poses that will help alleviate the pesky backaches, swollen ankles and ultimately prepare you for the push and how should you go about doing them?

Here are the top 15 prenatal yoga poses (with instructions to help you get into position) to adopt that will help smooth out the aches and pains along the way!

1. Camel Pose (with blocks)

Credit: Yogajournal

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Camel Pose helps pregnant mummies stretch a range of muscles from the chest, throat, back, thighs down to the groin.

This heart-opening prenatal yoga pose helps to strengthen the back muscles and helps improve your posture, which would significantly alleviate backaches as your belly grows bigger and heavier when you enter into the later stage of your pregnancy.

How to do the Camel Pose:

Come to stand on your shins with your knees directly beneath the hips, place the blocks on the outside of your ankles and shins.

The bottom block being horizontal and the second block vertical on top of the bottom block. Press your shins against the floor and feel the inner thighs roll back towards your big toes.

Keeping the hips over the knees, bring your hands to the blocks with fingertips facing you.

Press your hands down and lift your chest high up towards the sky. Drop your head back and stretch.

 

2. Cat/Cow Pose

Credit: Healthywomen

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

This prenatal yoga pose is one of the best poses when it comes to zapping away the back pain that comes with pregnancy.

The alternation between the two poses helps to stretch your back and lengthen your spine, providing the much-needed relief for strained backs.

The exhaling and inhaling breathing exercise combined with this prenatal yoga pose also helps train your abdomen as it expands and contracts, helping to shift baby into the optimal position for birth.

How to do the Cat/Cow Pose:

Come into an all fours position. Hands under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Top of your feet flat on the mat, keep a straight back.

Inhale, lift your tailbone and head, drop your stomach down and look up for 3-5 breaths. Exhale, round your back and pull your stomach in and tuck your tailbone under, chin to chest.

Press your hands firmly into the mat for 3-5 breaths. Repeat the cycle 5 times.

 

3. Downward Facing Dog

Credit: spoiledyogi

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Downward Facing Dog is a popular prenatal yoga pose that many pregnant mummies practise as it is known to help release tension felt in both the upper back and shoulder.

This prenatal yoga pose also helps to strengthen your arms, stretch out your lower back as well as the back of your legs where most tension is felt during pregnancy.

How to do the downward facing dog:

Come to an all fours position.

Hands directly under your shoulder and spread the fingers wide. Press your hand and fingers firmly into the mat.

Walk your knees back a little. Tuck your toes under. Exhale and lift your hips. Knees lift off the mat and straighten your legs. Feet parallel with heels pressed down towards the floor.

Straighten arms and legs and extend your hips away from your hands. Stretch and lengthen your spine.

If you find your spine rounding, bend your knees slightly. If you can keep a flat spine, press your heels closer to the mat and straighten your legs.

Straight line from your hands to your hips. Press your chest towards your knees. Relax your neck and let your head hang freely and gaze at your toes.

Keep a steady even breath for 5-10 breaths.

 

4. Goddess Pose

Credit: torontoyogamamas

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Goddess pose is an important prenatal yoga pose that pregnant mothers should not missed.

It helps to strengthen your legs as well as your pelvic floor and the stretch aids in hip opening, which is crucial during labour.

Doing this prenatal yoga pose daily can help ease your labour process drastically as it prepares your body for this position when it is time to push.

How to do the Goddess pose:

Step your feet wide along the length of your mat.

Keep your heels in and your toes pointed out. Look at your big toes. They should be pointed towards the corners of your mat.

Bend your knees, making sure that they are over your ankles. Your thighs parallel to the floor.

Keep the back straight and long without arching. Press down all ten toes equally into the mat. Lengthen your tailbone and stretch.

Breathe for 5-10 breaths.

 

5. Squatting Pose

Credit: cosmopolitan

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

When it comes to loosening the tightness of your pelvis, there is probably no better yoga pose than the squatting pose.

What this prenatal yoga pose does is to strengthen your legs and lengthen your spine. And in doing so, you open up your hips and lower back.

Squatting pose also encourages you to engage your pelvic muscles which helps to relax and loosen the tight knots in your lower back.

At the same time, it helps to ‘open’ your pelvic region which comes in extremely useful towards the ending stages of your gestational period.

How to do the squatting pose:

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes turning out a little. Keep your knees over the toes, bend your knees and squat down.

Keep the heels pressed on the floor. Elbows come to the inside of the knees with your hands together. Press your hands together and rest your elbows on the inside of your knees.

Roll your shoulders back and lift your chest.

Keep a steady breath while you hold the pose for a few minutes.

 

6. Standing Hip Circles

Credit: chopra

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

As with many of the prenatal yoga poses which help pregnant mothers relieve tension and tightness in their back and hip, standing hip circles is one of the easier and more relaxing prenatal yoga poses to engage in while you untangle the tight knots in your lower back and hip.

Another plus that comes with this prenatal yoga pose is that it helps to navigate baby down towards the pelvis in preparation for birth.

How to do the standing hip circles:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Place your hands on your hips and bend your knees slightly.

Rotate your hips right, back, left and front in a clockwise direction for 10-15 repetitions before changing it to the anticlockwise direction for another 10-15 repetitions.

Keep a steady breath throughout the pose.

 

7. Seated Side Bends

Credit: nuvanna

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Another gentle and relaxing prenatal yoga pose is the seated side bend.

Stretching your neck, shoulder and obliques, it not only relieves strained muscles in the abdominal area by creating more space in the torso for your organs and your growing baby, it also helps to soothe anxiety.

Do not underestimate this gentle prenatal yoga stretch as there are many health benefits attached to it.

This simple seated side bend stretch regulates your digestion, metabolism and elimination of toxins in the body.

How to do the Seated Side Bends:

Sitting on the floor with your legs crossed.

Inhale, lift your right arm as high up as it is comfortable for you. Exhale, tilt to your left until you feel a stretch along the abdomen and the ribs.

Inhale, hold the position for 3-5 breaths. Exhale, bring the arm back down and return to centre.

Repeat on the other side.

 

8. Bridge Pose

Credit: lifehack

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Another powerful prenatal pose to ease you into labour mode is the bridge pose. This prenatal yoga pose opens your hips and it encourages you to engage your core, hamstring and glutes.

This pose also aids in digestion as it calms the mind, thereby alleviating stress during the course of your pregnancy.

How to do the bridge pose:

Lie on your back with your feet, hip-width distance apart. Relax your glutes.

Inhale, lift your tailbone and hips as high as it is comfortable for you. Make sure your legs are parallel to each other.

Roll your shoulders back and down towards the mat. Hands by your side.

Breathe for 5-10 breaths.

 

9. Triangle Pose

Credit: medbarn

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Working your legs, the side of your body, hips and shoulders, triangle pose engages many muscle groups in your body.

As with other prenatal yoga poses that stretch the abdomen, triangle pose is also another good pose that helps to create space for your organs and accommodate to your growing baby.

This prenatal yoga pose also helps to improve your balance and support your lower back especially towards the later stage of pregnancy where your belly starts to swell.

How to do the Triangle Pose:

Step your feet wide apart. Inhale, spread your arms.

Bring your ankles underneath your wrists. Spread your fingertips wide and turn your toes slightly inward.

Lift your heart, tuck in your tailbone. Lengthen your spine.

Turn right toes 90°, pointing to the front edge of the mat. Left toes turn inward 45°, towards the front left corner of your mat.

Exhale, lower your right arm towards your right ankle. Reach for your right ankle. Left arm straight and strong. Palm face forward. Look up towards the left palm.

Inhale, come up. Exhale, hands by your side.

Repeat on the other side.

 

10. Child’s Pose

Credit: medbarn

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Another relaxing and effective prenatal yoga pose that gives your spine a much-needed relief from the baby weight is non other than the famous Child’s pose.

Child’s pose helps to open up your lower back and hip, giving your pelvic joints more mobility and helps with blood circulation, releasing tension in the groin area.

How to do the Child’s Pose:

Kneel on the floor with your knees wide apart. Big toes together, sit on your heels. Inhale, lengthen your spine.

Exhale, stretch your arms forward out in front of you, palms down on the mat, fingertips spread.

Slowly lower your torso as far down as it is comfortable for you, making sure to accommodate space for your belly. Shift your weight back into your hip.

Rest your hip on your heels and rest your forehead on the floor.

Breathe.

Hold in that position for a few minutes.

 

11. Pigeon Pose

Credit: lifestyle

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Giving your hip and thigh a deep stretch, this pose helps to release tension in your hips as well as your lower back.

Pigeon Pose is also a prenatal yoga pose that you should practise more in your third trimester as this pose helps to mobilise your hips and pelvis to prepare for labour.

How to do the Pigeon Pose:

Come to an all fours position. Hands directly underneath your shoulders.

Knees are hip-width apart. Start off with downward facing dog (3rd pose that we discussed earlier).

Tilt your tailbone up towards the ceiling, curl your toes under. Exhale, press your hands into the floor and lift your hips towards the sky.

Bend your right knees and draw it in towards your chest. Drop your right leg sideways behind your hands.

Drop your left knee towards the mat. For some support, you could use a cushion under your hip. This keeps your hips even. Rest your back of your foot on the floor.

Inhale.

Exhale, come forward onto your forearms.

Place a cushion in front of you and rest your head on it. Breathe for 5-10 counts.

Repeat on the other side.  

 

12. Hero Pose

Credit: propowergym

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

A calming and relaxing pose, Hero Pose is one of the most practised prenatal yoga pose amongst many pregnant mummies.

This simple and relaxing pose increases the flow of oxygen to your uterus, which is beneficial to both mother and baby.

As you breathe through this pose, it also helps to calm the mind and relaxes your entire body.

How to do the hero pose:

Come into an all fours position. Knees hip-width apart. Shins are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor.

Rest the back of your feet on the mat. Walk your arms back. Slowly sit back on your heels, with your thighs parallel to each other.

Draw your shoulder blades together. Place your palms on your thigh.

Breathe for 5-10 counts.

 

13. Low Lunge Pose

Credit: propowergym

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

This prenatal yoga pose is perfect to open and lengthen you psoas (a pair of large muscles which run from the lumbar spine through the groin on either side).

Low Lunge Pose also helps strengthen your glutes and hamstring which helps with the support of your pelvis.

This prenatal yoga pose is helpful to prepare for birthing, especially if your baby is on the bigger side.

How to do the Low Lunge Pose:

Stand at the top of your mat with your hands on hips. Take a step back, keeping your back heel lifted.

Stand your feet wider apart for more stability and balance. Inhale. Exhale, bend both knees. Breathe for 3-5 counts.

Lengthen through your back leg, resting the top of your back feet on the floor. Straighten your lower back.

Stretch your hips and groin. Arms over your head, palms touch. Lift your chest. Breathe for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

 

14. Butterfly Pose

Credit: propowergym

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Butterfly pose, though easy, brings about many benefits for a prenatal yoga pose.

A pose that encourages a deep and meditative state, it allows you to achieve peace in both body and soul.

This pose also helps to stretch your pelvic and inner thigh muscle, providing relief to the tension commonly felt in your legs.

How to do the Butterfly Pose:

Start by sitting on the floor. Legs and back straight with hands on the floor. Inhale.

Bend both knees and bring both heels close to your pelvic region. Drop your knees towards the floor and touch the soles of your feet together.

Clasp your hands around your toes. Breathe. Keep in this position for 3-5 minutes.

 

15. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

Credit: greatist

How this prenatal yoga pose helps pregnancy:

Legs-up-the-wall pose or Viparita Karani pose is one of the best poses for pregnant mothers who experience varicose veins or swelling in the legs and feet during pregnancy.

This prenatal yoga posture helps with blood circulation in the legs, thereby providing relief and reduces swelling in your leg area.

With your feet against the wall, this prenatal yoga pose also stretches your hamstrings and relaxing the muscles in your lower back.

How to do the Legs Up The Wall Pose:

Begin the pose by sitting your left side against the wall. Your back should rest against a bolster or a cushion for added support to your back.

Gently turn your body to the left and slowly lift both legs up against the wall. Use your hands to balance as you shift your weight from side to side, bringing your buttocks as close to the wall as it is comfortable for you.

Palms by your side, facing up. Close your eyes. Hold in this position for 5-10 minutes. Breathe.

To end the pose, gently push yourself away from the wall and slide your legs down to the right side. Use your hands to press yourself up into a seating position.

 

Prenatal yoga poses that will benefit your pregnancy

Now that we have listed the top 15 prenatal yoga poses that have proven to be greatly beneficial to pregnant mummies, it’s time to put these poses to the test.

Not only is prenatal yoga less demanding and taxing on your body, it comes with a multitude of wonderful health benefits that ensure both mother and baby are healthy and happy during pregnancy.

Since incorporating exercise into your prenatal journey is highly recommended, how about adopting a pose or 15 into these 9 beautiful months in Singapore and make your pregnancy a less painful and a more fruitful one?

 
Connect with other Mummies! Join our Facebook 2020/2021 Pregnant Mummies Support Group!

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