7 Yoga Poses to Avoid When Pregnant and Why

A pregnant woman doing yoga

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The importance of exercising cannot be undermined during pregnancy, and yoga is one of the safest ways of staying physically and mentally fit during the term. Yoga not only helps you prepare your body for the upcoming labour and birth, but it also helps in keeping you calm and relaxed. However, pregnancy requires a certain amount of physical restriction; therefore, you must not do all the yoga poses. In this article, we shall discuss various yoga poses that you should avoid during your pregnancy. But first, let’s understand why it is required to avoid them.

Why Should You Avoid Some Yoga Poses During Pregnancy?

 A pregnant woman holding her belly while sitting

Your body is changing physically, and it does not remain the same during pregnancy. Therefore, your exercise routine also needs to be tweaked accordingly. The yoga poses you were doing prior to getting pregnant could pose to be a threat to you and your baby, they could be uncomfortable and difficult to do, and they could cause complications in different phases of pregnancy. For instance, in the first trimester, you should avoid deep abdominal twisting poses as it may adversely affect the implantation process. Hence, it is important to list down all the yoga poses to avoid while pregnant.

Types of Yoga Poses That Must Be Avoided During Pregnancy

Your body is working hard during pregnancy, and thus, it is not the time to push yourself to an extreme limit. The aim of yoga during pregnancy is to increase flexibility, relieve stress and work on your breathing. It is advised that you should practise yoga only as much as you can and if you feel like stopping or resting in between, listen to the signals of your body and take a break.

It is strictly recommended that you should consult your doctor before practising any kind of yoga poses during pregnancy. Go through our recommendations of yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy, so you can cover these as well when you next consult your medical practitioner.

The following yoga poses are a complete no-no during pregnancy:

1. Jumping or Fast-Flowing Poses

Jumping pose

Jumping and fast-flowing poses can put your body under loads of stress during pregnancy.

Why You Should Avoid Them

At the onset of your pregnancy journey, there’s a lot going inside your body. It begins with conception when the implantation process begins and then the development process of the embryo. In your early pregnancy, too much jumping and fast poses may make you more nauseous. Therefore, it is best to avoid yoga poses that involve intense jumping and moving sequences. Restorative and grounding poses are beneficial during this time as it would not only help in the foetal development but also keep various complications arising during this time at bay.

Poses to Avoid

Avoid all yoga poses which involve fast movements and jumping.

2. Compressing or Twisting Poses

Twisting pose

Twisting, twirling or compressing poses can put undue stress on your abdominal region during pregnancy.

Why You Should Avoid Them

You will have to monitor your abdominal movements and refrain from doing any strenuous abdominal yoga poses. As the embryo attaches itself to the uterine wall, the formation of placenta begins, and thus you will have to monitor your tummy movements. Any twisting movements can decrease the flow of blood to your abdominal region due to compression.

Poses to Avoid

Avoid all the asanas that need twisting and compressing the abdominal muscles, such as the Moon Pose, Boat Pose, Spinal Twist towards the Knees, etc.

3. Vigorous Stretching Poses

 Stretching pose

It is important to pay heed to severe stretching poses as they may cause harm to your joints and ligaments.

Why You Should Avoid Them

As you move forward in your pregnancy, your body starts preparing for the labour and childbirth. This leads to your muscles and ligaments becoming more flexible than before. Extreme stretching during your second or third trimester could end up hurting your ligaments or pelvic joints.

Poses to Avoid

Avoid all the yoga poses that need extreme stretching of the body, such as the Camel Pose, Fish Posture, Wheel Posture, etc.

4. Lying Back Poses

Lying back pose

Though these poses appear less complicated, any yoga pose that involves lying on the back could put pressure on the inferior vena cava.

Why You Should Avoid Them

Lying on your back in pregnancy could trigger the feeling of nausea, cause lower back pain, increase the blood pressure and also cause heartburns. Apart from this, lying for longer durations on your back could harm the vessel called vena cava and cause various complications. Vena cava transfers deoxygenated blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart.

Poses to Avoid

Avoid poses that require lying on the back such as the Corpse Pose, Lying Down Body Twist, Boat Pose, Fish Pose, Bridge Pose, Plough Pose, etc.

5. Inversion Poses

Inversion pose

Inversion poses can make you extremely nauseous and giddy during pregnancy.

Why You Should Avoid Them

Women gain a substantial amount of weight to meet the pregnancy needs for the unborn child. As your tummy grows, it will become difficult for you to maintain your centre of gravity and thus your body’s balance. Doing inversion poses in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy may cause extreme dizziness and loss of balance, which could be fatal for you and your unborn child.

Poses to Avoid

Avoid poses the need inversions, like the Shoulderstand, Handstand, Wheel Pose, Plough Pose, Headstand, Downward Facing Dog Pose, etc.

6. Heated Yoga Poses

Heated Pose

Heated yoga poses can cause an increase in body heat and thus could harm your unborn baby.

Why You Should Avoid Them

There are some yoga poses which are said to increase body heat. Therefore, it is important to know how each yoga pose affects our bodies. The poses that raise body heat should be completely avoided in all the trimesters as they can also cause dehydration during pregnancy.

Poses to Avoid

Kapalbhati (Breath of Fire Pose), Headstand, Bikram Pose, Warrior Pose, Plank Pose, etc. are some yoga poses that help to raise the body heat. Such yoga poses need to be avoided during pregnancy.

7. Prone or Belly Down Poses

Belly down pose

As you move ahead in your pregnancy journey, you will find it difficult to lie on your tummy, and therefore, any yoga poses involving lying or bending down from the tummy may be harmful.

Why You Should Avoid Them

As your baby grows inside your tummy, it tends to squeeze your internal organs. Any kind of extra pressure on your abdominal region could be harmful to you and the baby growing inside you. Therefore, avoid all poses that require bending down from the tummy or lying on your tummy.

Poses to Avoid

Poses such as the Swan Pose, Cobra Pose, Bow Pose, Locust Pose, Seated Forward Bend, etc. should be avoided completely during pregnancy.

Exercising is important during pregnancy, but you and your baby’s well-being holds priority, too. Therefore, do not challenge yourself and practise yoga poses that your body cannot cope with. It is important that you consult your healthcare practitioner before following any exercise regime and also know about various yoga moves to avoid during pregnancy.

It is also advisable that you take help from a prenatal fitness/yoga expert, who works in sync with your healthcare practitioner, to learn modified yoga poses suitable for your pregnancy and practise them in group sessions. Doing so will ensure you have people around you who can help you if needed, and you can stay fit without harming your baby. Also remember to consume a healthy, balanced diet and stay well hydrated when you have your exercise routine in place. And, pick up cues from your body; if a certain pose causes discomfort or pain, it is always better to avoid it.

Also Read:

Exercises to Avoid in Pregnancy
Abdominal Exercises in Pregnancy