The third trimester of pregnancy is the time when your stomach is expanding to accommodate the growing uterus. It also brings discomforts, such as back pain, tiredness, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, and swelling of arms and legs (1). Yoga during the third trimester might help relieve these problems. It is also believed to provide relief from tiredness, insomnia, and water retention (2).
However, not all yoga poses are suitable in the third trimester. Hence it is advisable to practice yoga under the guidance of a certified yoga trainer (3).
Here, we will help you know about the safety of yoga in the third trimester, including the safe poses, benefits, and precautions.
Benefits Of Yoga In Third Trimester
- Anxiety and depression: Yoga focuses on the mind and the body connection, which helps reduce anxiety and depression in most pregnant women.
- Stress: A stress-free pregnancy can be achieved with prenatal yoga towards the later months when the hormonal levels are at a peak.
- Preeclampsia: Yoga can help treat preeclampsia, a condition in which pregnant women experience increased blood pressure levels.
- Childbirth: Practicing yoga during the third trimester can help strengthen your core or pelvic region and prepare the body for birth. Prenatal yoga practice might lower the risks for pelvic dysfunction during labor.
- Postpartum depression: Yoga is also known to offer benefits after pregnancy, such as reducing postpartum depression and stress.
Best Yoga Poses For The Third Trimester
1. Ankle rotation:
This helps relieve cramps, epidural pain and tension in your feet.
- Place your right leg over the left, such as the right leg hanging over the left.
- Hold the right toes with your left hand and the ankle with your right hand.
- Gently rotate the foot in both directions for ten rounds each.
- Repeat for the other foot.
2. Abdominal stretch:
This helps relieve upper back pain and release the tension from the whole body.
- Lie on your back and bend your right leg towards your chest.
- With your hands spread apart, twist your upper body towards the left.
- Hold the position for a few seconds and rest.
- Repeat with the other leg and twist towards the opposite direction.
3. Butterfly pose:
Also called Baddha Konasana, this pose can help loosen the hip or pelvic muscles and improves the blood circulation to the pelvic region.
- Sit and bring both your legs together, so the soles of the feet touch each other.
- Hold the feet with your hands.
- Flap both the legs up and down
- Repeat the movement 20-30 times.
- Relax and straighten your legs gently.
4. Half-butterfly pose:
This yoga pose prepares the pelvic area for comfortable labor.
- Sit on the yoga mat and stretch the right leg to the front while folding the left leg.
- While keeping the left hand on your left knee, hold the toes of your right knee with the right hand.
- Breathe normally and remain in the position for a few seconds.
- Repeat for the other leg.
5. Lying down on one side:
The modified Savasana can relax your mind and help provide a comfortable sleep.
- Lie on your right side with your right hand under the head.
- Place a pillow between the legs and bring the left leg towards the chest.
- You can place your left hand on your belly for support.
- Remain in the position for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. Child pose:
The Shishu asana opens up the torso and relieves the pressure from the shoulder.
- Kneel on your yoga mat and bend forward with your hands stretched out.
- Maintain the position while facing downwards with gentle breathing.
- Repeat as per your comfort.
7. Cat-cow pose:
The cat-cow pose shifts the baby to the correct position by lowering the baby towards the uterus.
- Position yourself on your hands and knees.
- Inhale while arching your back downward and bending your head backward.
- Exhale while arching your back upward and head downward.
- Repeat this five to ten times and rest.
8. Garland pose:
This yoga helps strengthen the muscles of the thighs, back, abdomen, and uterus.
- Stand with your knees apart.
- Squat down while bringing your palms together in a prayer position.
- Breathe normally and keep your back straight.
9. Goddess pose:
This yoga is helpful for strengthening the muscles of thighs, back, abdomen, and uterus.
- Stand with your feet wide apart, and hands stretch upwards.
- Bend down your knees at an angle of 90° while bringing your hands down to your shoulders with palms upward.
- Inhale as you stretch and exhale while bending down.
10. Legs-up-the-wall pose:
It can bring relief from pregnancy edema or foot swelling.
- Lie on your back and rest your legs against the wall.
- You can place some pillows underneath your head for comfort.
- Let your arms rest by the sides and take deep breaths.
11. Corpse pose:
This pose helps relieve stress from the body and provides peaceful sleep.
- Lie flat on your back in a relaxed position.
- Let your legs be comfortably apart and hands gently by your side.
- Relax your muscles while keeping your eyes closed and focusing on relaxing your body.
12. Shoulder rotation:
This can help stimulate the mammary glands and also release back and neck tension.
- Touch your shoulders with your fingertips.
- Rotate your arms and the shoulder joint as if drawing circles with your elbows.
- Continue for five times in the forward direction and then repeat five times in the backward direction.
- Maintain regular breathing throughout.
Precautions To Take While Practicing Prenatal Yoga
- Avoid strenuous or advanced yoga that is likely to put pressure on your abdomen.
- Stick to yoga exercises involving breathing or meditation rather than intense poses.
- Certain yoga poses may lead to pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor. Hence it is important to practice only the doctor-recommended yogas.
- Do not practice hot yoga or Bikram yoga, as it can increase your body temperature, leading to hyperthermia.
Yoga is one of the best healing practices for the emotional and physical balance of the body during pregnancy. The above yoga practices may not guarantee a pain-free delivery but can help you relax and prepare for comfortable childbirth. You should consult your doctor before performing any form of yoga or exercise during pregnancy to avoid possible complications.
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