Doing Yoga While Pregnant? Make These Modifications

by Estelle Low
FITNESS  |  July 11, 2017
  • What you need to know about prenatal yoga
    1 / 12 What you need to know about prenatal yoga

    Yoga is one of the best exercises for pregnant women. It strengthens you while being gentle on the joints, makes you more in tune with your body, and is extremely scalable in terms of intensity.

    As long as your doctor gives the green light to exercise, even those without yoga experience can give it a shot.

    A good way to get started is to join a prenatal yoga class, which is available at some yoga studios and gyms in Singapore. If it’s your first time doing yoga, avoid attempting the poses without professional supervision.

    If you’ve been practising yoga for some time, bear in mind that you’ll need to make some adjustments to your routine. After all, your body is busy growing a baby and you will experience many physical changes in the months to come.

    Photo: Vadim Guzhva /

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  • Hot yoga
    2 / 12 Hot yoga

    No matter which trimester you’re in, avoid doing yoga in a heated environment, like those in Bikram yoga and hot yoga. The relatively high studio temperature of 38 to 42 deg C raises your body’s core temperature. This may endanger baby’s health, according to some studies.

    Photo: Pakin Songmor /

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  • Breathing
    3 / 12 Breathing

    Avoid doing breath retention exercises, as they could reduce the amount of oxygen available to your baby. Also avoid quick and forceful breaths which could make you feel faint.

    (Also read: The Benefits of Meditation & How to Get Started)

    Photo: Jozef Polc /

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  • Stretching
    4 / 12 Stretching

    During pregnancy, your body experiences a surge in relaxin, a hormone that allows your uterus to expand. This hormone also softens connective tissues, making you feel extra bendy. So be careful not to overstretch.

    (Also read: These Exercises Will Make Your Boobs Look Bigger)

    Photo: Dean Drobot /

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  • Core work
    5 / 12 Core work

    Minimise poses that specifically target the abdominals, such as boat pose. Such poses increase the risk of abdominal separation (also known as diastasis recti), where the space between the left and right abdominal muscles widens, causing the belly to stick out.

    To work your core, do gentle poses like cat-cow and modified plank. Adjust the holding time and number of reps to your comfort level.

    Photo: Wavebreak Media Ltd

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  • Backbends
    6 / 12 Backbends

    From the second trimester (weeks 13 to 27), steer clear of deep back-bending poses like full wheel, as they may overstretch the abdomen.

    (Also read: What Exercises Should You Do During Pregnancy?)

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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  • Deep twists
    7 / 12 Deep twists

    Twist more from the shoulders rather than the waist, and twist away from your front leg to avoid putting pressure on your stomach. Go slow, and only as far as you feel comfortable.

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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  • Forward bends
    8 / 12 Forward bends

    When doing standing or seated forward folds, keep lots of space between the legs – at least hip-width – to avoid compressing your belly. When seated, place a folded blanket or towel under your buttocks.

    (Also read: The Best Yoga Classes in Singapore – Tried & Tested)

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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  • Inversions
    9 / 12 Inversions

    Poses like handstands and shoulder stands are not particularly beneficial for mums-to-be. But if you must go upside down, do only the poses you were comfortable with before you were pregnant. Now’s not the time to try something new. As your belly gets bigger, your risk of falling increases.

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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  • Lying on the belly
    10 / 12 Lying on the belly

    When your womb starts expanding significantly from the second trimester, avoid poses that require you to lie on your stomach, such as bow pose.

    Photo: Viktor Gladkov /

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  • Lying on the back
    11 / 12 Lying on the back

    From the second trimester, avoid lying on your back for long periods. In doing so, the weight of your expanded tummy slows the return of blood to your heart, which reduces blood flow to baby.

    (Also read: 8 Yoga Poses That Will Calm You Down Before Bedtime)

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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  • Resting poses
    12 / 12 Resting poses

    Instead of lying on your back in corpse pose, try this more comfortable variation: Lie on your side and support the top leg with a firm bolster or cushion. If you prefer to face up, prop your head, shoulders and back with yoga blocks and a firm bolster or cushion.

    When doing child’s pose, spread your knees wide to make room for your belly. Place a firm bolster, cushion or yoga block under your forehead if you feel dizzy. Feel free to make as many adjustments as you need to feel comfortable.

    Ultimately, listen to your body while at it. Yoga is a mind-body practice, so let your feelings be the best guide.

    Photo: Aleksandr Davydov /

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