12 Best Third Trimester Yoga Poses, Benefits, And Precautions

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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

Practicing yoga during pregnancy helps ease both the mind and the body (4) (5).

  • Stress: A stress-free pregnancy can be achieved with prenatal yoga toward the later months when the hormonal levels are at a peak.
  • Preeclampsia: 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.
  • 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

Some of the best yoga poses or asanas you can try in the third trimester of pregnancy are (6) (2) :

1. Ankle rotation

This helps relieve cramps, epidural pain and tension in your feet.

Ankle rotation, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Abdominal stretch, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Butterfly pose, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Half-butterfly pose, Third trimester yoga

Image: Shuttterstock

Steps:

  • 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.

Lying down on one side, Third trimester yoga

Image: iStock

Steps:

  • 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.

Child pose, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Alternate pose: Although considered a safe and doable pose for the third trimester, you may adjust the child pose according to your comfort (6). You can raise your bottom and stretch your hands out further to turn it into a puppy pose.

7. Cat-cow pose

The cat-cow pose focuses on the spine and the neck and enhances their flexibility along with the shoulders. In addition, it may also help in correcting the positioning of the baby and toning the reproductive system.

Head backward cat-cow pose, Third trimester yoga

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Head forward cat-cow pose, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Garland pose, Third trimester yoga

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Steps:

  • 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.

Goddess pose, Third trimester yoga

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 Steps:

  • 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.

Legs-up-the-wall pose, Third trimester yoga

Image: Shutterstock

Steps:

  • 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. Shoulder rotation

This can help stimulate the mammary glands and also release back and neck tension.

Corpse pose, Third trimester yoga

Image: Shutterstock

Steps:

  • 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.

Steps:

  • 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

It is important to follow certain precautions while performing yoga during pregnancy (7) (8).

  • Avoid strenuous or advanced yoga that is likely to put pressure on your abdomen.
  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is downward dog safe in the third trimester?

The downward dog yoga pose or Adhomukhasana is considered safe during pregnancy. However, do it with caution and don’t practice poses that require too much effort or cause exhaustion (9).

2. Which yoga poses are unsafe during pregnancy?

Yoga poses that involve inversions, backbends, and intense abdominal workout should be avoided during pregnancy. Examples are wheel pose, crow pose, and prone poses (2) (10).

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.

Key Pointers

  • You may practice prenatal yoga, which involves meditations and breathing exercises rather than intense poses during the third trimester.
  • Yoga helps relieve stress and anxiety in the third trimester, and it helps in childbirth by strengthening pelvic core muscles.
  • Abdominal stretch, ankle rotation, half-butterfly pose, lying on one side, and child pose are suitable yoga poses for the third trimester.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Aneesha Amonz

Aneesha holds a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology from USTM, Meghalaya and Master’s degree in Applied Microbiology from VIT, Vellore. She has worked on different research projects in the field of Food Sciences. In addition, she has an internship experience in Oil India Limited as an R&D project trainee. As a writer at MomJunction, Aneesha ensures her content is engaging and... more

Dr. Ng Kai Lyn

(MMed (O&G), MRCOG)
Dr. Ng Kai Lyn is a Singapore-based obstetrician and gynecologist, specializing in urogynecology, minimally invasive surgery, and clinical interest in fertility. She has vast experience managing and treating benign gynecological conditions, including uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometrial polyps, and endometriosis. She is also fellowship trained in urogynecology. She manages pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic floor reconstructive surgery, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence,... more