15 Popular Yoga Asanas To Try During Pregnancy

✔ Research-backed

Pregnancy is a transformative experience. However, the multiple bodily changes and emotional turmoils a pregnant woman faces during this period may make it a tough phase. Hence, some women choose to practice yoga asanas during pregnancy to alleviate pregnancy-related symptoms and relax their bodies.

During the journey of motherhood, pregnant women may experience stress and emotional disturbances caused by uncontrollable weight gain, headaches, and mood swings, leaving them feeling like they have lost control over their situation. Though you may not be able to regulate a majority of your symptoms, some of them are manageable with well-backed techniques such as yoga, which provides relaxation and alleviates stress during pregnancy. Moreover, recent reports from a meta-analysis published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth showed that pregnant women who practiced yoga experienced reduced anxiety, up to two hours shorter labor, and 2.5 times higher chances of vaginal birth.

If you are interested in trying some easy and effective yoga asanas in pregnancy, then read on to choose the most suitable one for you.

In This Article

Yoga Asanas While You Are Pregnant

Yoga is a natural and safe way to keep you healthy, and in shape, when you are pregnant. It helps you relax and also keeps the many pregnancy aches and pains away. It will not only help you physically, but also emotionally and mentally.

And, if you’ve ever practiced yoga before you became pregnant, you’ll simply find it easier to continue doing so. But, even if you haven’t tried yoga before, it will just be a bit difficult, especially as you’re expecting. So, before you try any of the poses, make sure you speak to your doctor to have an assessment of your overall pregnancy health and to get a go-ahead.

Jenni Gritters, a mother and a yoga enthusiast, recalls how practicing yoga during pregnancy restored her confidence and overall well-being, “In my fourth month of pregnancy, my nausea settled just enough to allow me some space and time to go back to the yoga studio. I traded closed hip poses for open ones, poses on my stomach for those in table tops, and twists with open-handed postures. Eventually, I started to feel strong again in this new body, one with looser joints, wider hips, and an ever-growing belly. Yoga, for me, has always been about showing up, giving myself compassion, and remembering how strong I feel when I’m grounded in mindful movement (i).”

Incorporating mindfulness and comfort into your yoga practice while pregnant is especially important.Also, if you feel uncomfortable or experience pain while you try yoga during pregnancy, stop immediately and speak to your doctor about it.

protip_icon Quick tip
Keep necessary body support items, such as cushions or bolsters, maternity belt, chair without armrests, yoga bricks, and a blanket before starting the yoga session (6).

Top Pregnancy Yoga Asanas

While yoga asanas are safe to do even while you are pregnant, speak to your doctor and take a confirmation first. Here are some of the most popular yoga asanas that you can try while you are pregnant:

1. The Extended Side Angle Pose:

The Extended Side Angle pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Stand up straight and open your feet in such a way that they are placed at an equal distance coordinated to your shoulders.
  2. Now bend one leg at the knee while you extend the other leg sideways. Make sure you keep a strong grip so that you do not slip.
  3. Now raise your arm from the side where you have extended your leg and stretch your arm upwards. Keep it straight and stretch it towards and above your head.
  4. Bend your other hand at the elbow and place it on the knee that you have bent earlier. Keep the palm open and facing upwards.
  5. Hold the pose for a few seconds or a minute, as you are comfortable. Release and go back to your original position.
  6. Now repeat the same by exchanging the position of the sides.

2. The Half Butterfly Pose Or Ardha Titali Asana:

The Half Butterfly pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Sit down in a comfortable pose and stretch out your legs to the front.
  2. Now bend your right leg at the knee and bring your right foot towards the left leg. Place your right foot as high on the left thigh as you can comfortably do.
  3. Now place your right hand on your right knee.
  4. Use your left hand to hold the toes of the right foot.
  5. Breathe in and very slowly move your right knee towards your chest.
  6. Now slowly breathe out and push your knee downwards while trying to touch the floor.
  7. Go only as far as you can. Come back to your original position and repeat the same with your left leg.

3. The Full Butterfly Pose, Or PoornaTitali Asana:

The Full Butterfly pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. The asana will help you to relax your legs and ease any signs of tiredness. It will also help to release any tension and stress from the muscles in your inner thighs.
  2. Sit down in a comfortable position and stretch your legs outwards in front of you.
  3. Bend both your legs at the knees and bring the soles together, so that your legs touch each other.
  4. Try and place the heels as close to your body as you can do comfortably, without feeling any pain or discomfort.
  5. Relax your inner thighs and hold your feet with both hands.
  6. Slowly bounce your knees in an up and down motion. You can use your elbows to press down your legs, so that you don’t have to exert any force.
  7. Repeat 10 to 20 times and relax.

4. The Twisted Pose, Or Vakrasana:

The Twisted pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. The asana will help to relax and gently massage the areas around your legs, hands, neck and your spine, as well as the organs in your abdomen.
  2. Sit down straight and stretch your legs out in front of you.
  3. Breathe in slowly and stretch your arms upwards at your shoulder level. Make sure that the palms face downwards.
  4. Now breathe out slowly and very gently twist your body to a sideways position. You will have to make the twist from your waist area. Turn from your left side to your right side from the waist and move your hands and your head together to the same side.
  5. Try to take your arms as much to the back as you can, without feeling uncomfortable.
  6. Make sure that you do not bend your knees.
  7. Breathe in slowly and come back to the original pose. Repeat with the other side.

5. The Chair Pose Or Utkatasana:

The Chair Pose pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  1. The asana will help to strengthen the muscles in your thigh and pelvic region.
  2. Stand straight and place your feet apart at a distance of about 12 inches and parallel to each other.
  3. Breathe in slowly and push your heels upwards. Push your arms upwards at your shoulder level.
  4. Make sure that your palms face downwards as you do so.
  5. Now breathe out slowly and sit on your toes in a squatting pose. If you feel any discomfort, you can stand while keeping your feet flat instead.
  6. If you are squatting, breathe in slowly and rise up gently. Try and rise up on your toes.
  7. Now breathe out and bring your hands and heels down.

6. The Ham’s Pose With One Or Paryankasana:

  1. Lie down comfortably on your back and stretch your legs forwards.
  2. Make sure that your knees are together.
  3. Fold in the right leg at the knee at the side of the posterior.
  4. Stay in the pose as long as you are comfortable and repeat with the other side.
  5. Now straighten your legs and repeat using your left leg.
protip_icon Caution
Avoid exercises that require lying on your back after the first trimester (7).

7. The Flapping Fish Pose Or MatsyaKridasan:

  1. The asana will help to keep your digestion smooth and will prevent chances of constipation, which is often a common pregnancy concern. It will also help to relax the muscles in your legs.
  2. Lie down gently on your stomach and place your fingers under the head.
  3. Bend your left leg to the side and bring the knee as close to your ribs as you comfortably can.
  4. Make sure that your right leg is straight.
  5. Place the left elbow on the left knee. If you feel uncomfortable, let it rest on the floor.
  6. Place the right side of your head on the right arm.
  7. Relax for some time and switch with the other side.

8. The Thunderbolt Pose Or Vajrasana:

The Thunderbolt pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: IStock

  1. The asana will help to improve your digestion and prevent constipation, which is a common pregnancy problem. It will also help to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic region.
  2. Sit down on the floor in a kneeling position.
  3. Touch your big toes together and place the heels separately.
  4. Place your hips in such a way that you sit in the middle and the heels touch the sides of your hips.
  5. Put your hands on your knees with the palms facing downwards. Keep your back and head in a straight posture.
  6. Hold the pose for a few minutes and relax.

9. The Squat And Rise Pose, Or Utthanasana:

  1. The asana will help to strengthen the muscles of your thighs, uterus, back and ankles.
  2. Stand straight and keep your feet apart by a meter. Make sure that your toes are turned outwards.
  3. Lock in your fingers and place them in front of your body. Do not stress your hands.
  4. Slowly bend your knees and bring your hips down.
  5. Now straighten your knees and come back to the original position.

10. The Sleeping Abdominal Stretch Pose Or Supta Udarakarshan Asana:

  1. The asana will help to improve your digestion and will also ease any stiffness that you feel in your spine.
  2. Lie down on your back and interlock your fingers using both the hands.
  3. Place your hands beneath the head while keeping your fingers interlocked.
  4. Bend your legs at the knees and touch the soles of your feet on the ground.
  5. Turn your head to the left in such a way that you feel a stretching motion in your spine.
  6. Now bend your legs towards the left and stretch your head towards the right.
  7. Repeat.

11. The Ankle Crank Pose:

  1. The asana will help to ease any stiffness and pain you feel in your ankle and feet.
  2. Bend your right leg at the knee and place your right foot on the left knee.
  3. Hold the toes of your right leg with your left hand and hold your right leg with the other hand.
  4. Move your right ankle in a wide circular motion and do about ten rotations in each direction.
  5. Stop and repeat with the other ankle.

12. The Spinal Bending Pose Or Meru Akarshanasan:

  1. This yoga for pregnant women will help to relax the areas around your abdomen, inner thigh and hamstring.
  2. Lie down on your left side and place your left leg on the right leg.
  3. Bend your right arm and place your elbow on the floor. Use your right palm to support your head.
  4. Place your left arm on your left thigh and stretch your left leg as high as you can without feeling any pain or discomfort.
  5. Now try and touch your left foot with your left hand.
  6. Repeat with the other side.
  7. Make sure to maintain proper form during the exercise.

13. The Waist Rotating Pose Or Kati Chakrasan:

  1. The asana will ease any aches and pains and will help to flex the muscles of your back and hips.
  2. Stand straight and place your feet at a distance of about a meter from each other. Keep your arms on your side.
  3. Breathe in and raise your arms to the shoulder level.
  4. Breathe out and twist your body towards the left side.
  5. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and wrap your left arm around your back.
  6. Turn towards your left shoulder.
  7. Hold your breathing for about two seconds, breathe in and go back to the original position.
  8. Repeat on the other side.

14. The Palm Tree Pose Or Tadasan:

The Palm Tree pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: IStock

  1. The asana will help to stretch and loosen your spine and will also stretch the muscles in your abdominal area.
  2. Stand straight with your arms on the side and your feet together.
  3. Stretch your arms over your head and interlock your fingers.
  4. Make sure your palms are facing upwards and your hands are over your head.
  5. Breathe in and stretch your arms, chest and shoulders in an upward motion.
  6. Rise on your heels and balance on your toes, stretching your body upwards.
  7. Breathe out, lower your heels and place your hands on the top of your head.
  8. Relax and repeat.

15. The Hand Raising Pose Or Hasta Utthanasan:

The Hand Raising pose yoga asana during pregnancy

Image: IStock

This yoga for pregnancy will ease any stiffness in your shoulders and your upper back areas. It will also help to improve your breathing.

  1. Stand straight with your feet placed together and your arms on the side.
  2. Place your hands in front of your body in a crossing position.
  3. Breathe in slowly and raise your arms over your head. Cross the arms.
  4. Slightly bend your head backwards and look at your hands.
  5. Breathe out and spread out your arms to shoulder level.
  6. Breathe in again and reverse the movement.
  7. Breathe out slowly and bring your arms in front of your body.
protip_icon Quick tip
Reduce the time spent holding asanas to prevent fatigue during the second and third trimesters (2).

Yoga and meditation during pregnancy help relieve numerous pregnancy-related aches and pains while also preparing your body for your baby’s birth. However, not all yoga asanas during pregnancy are considered safe. Therefore, the above list suggests various yoga asanas, such as the extended side angle pose, full butterfly pose, the twisted pose, the chair pose, the flapping fish pose, Udarakarshan asana, and the spinal bending pose, are considered safe and effective during pregnancy. However, consult your OB/Gyn before deciding on asanas for each trimester, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy.

Infographic: Top Pregnancy Yoga Asanas And Their Benefits

Pregnancy yoga involves gentle stretches, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques that can help alleviate common pregnancy discomforts and promote overall well-being. There are a variety of yoga asanas or poses that can help pregnant women with their unique benefits. We will discuss some of these yoga poses in the infographic below.

pregnancy yoga pose (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which yoga poses are best during pregnancy?

The suitability of different yoga poses mainly depends on your pregnancy stage and health. However, certain poses, such as the cat and cow pose, butterfly pose, and goddess pose, may benefit pregnant women. These poses can promote both wellness and strength during pregnancy (1) (2).

2. In which month can I start practicing yoga during pregnancy?

You may begin practicing yoga in the first trimester, provided you have no complications and have your doctor’s consent (2). Moreover, the American Pregnancy Association recommends taking prenatal yoga classes designed specifically for pregnant women (3).

3. Which yoga poses are best for a normal delivery?

Some yoga poses, such as the cat/cow pose, deep squats, and child pose, could help relax your muscles and prepare you for labor and delivery (4).

4. Which yoga poses should I avoid when pregnant?

Experts recommend that you may avoid certain yoga poses, including the cobra pose, boat pose, and inversions (2). Furthermore, the NHS recommends avoiding any forms of exercise or postures that may put pressure on your abdomen (especially after week 16) to prevent any discomforts or health complications (5).

Key Pointers

  • Practicing yoga during pregnancy can alleviate stress, relax the mind and body, promote overall health, and help maintain physical shape.
  • It is important to seek medical advice before starting yoga during pregnancy.
  • During yoga sessions, it is necessary to have essential support equipment such as cushions or bolsters available.
  • Pregnant women commonly perform yoga poses such as Extended Side Angle, Half Butterfly, Full Butterfly, and Twisted Pose.
Yoga Asanas During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team


Discover the advantages of incorporating prenatal yoga asanas into your routine for a calm and healthy pregnancy. Explore the use of controlled breathing techniques to promote relaxation and well-being in expectant mothers.

Personal Experience: Source

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.
  1. 5 Best Yoga Poses for Pregnant Women.
    https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/5-best-yoga-poses-pregnant-women
  2. Prenatal yoga for women during pregnancy.
    https://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga/yoga-for-women/yoga-and-pregnancy
  3. Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/exercise-guidelines/
  4. 5 exercises and techniques to train for childbirth.
    https://utswmed.org/medblog/prepare-body-labor-delivery/
  5. Exercise in pregnancy.
    https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/exercise/
  6. Teaching Prenatal Yoga; What You Need To Know.
    https://www.arhantayoga.org/blog/teaching-prenatal-yoga-what-you-need-to-know/
  7. Yoga and Pilates during pregnancy.
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/yoga-and-pilates-during-pregnancy
Was this article helpful?
Like buttonDislike button
The following two tabs change content below.
Dr. Vaishali Sharma

Dr. Vaishali SharmaMD, DSAGE, RCOG Associate

Dr. Vaishali Sharma is a senior consultant gynecologist, laparoscopic surgeon and infertility specialist practicing in South Delhi. With 15 years of experience in various fields of medicine, she is a successful infertility specialist treating blocked tubes through laparoscopic tuboplasty or IVF.  She won two awards at the National Fertility Conclave by The Economic Times and received the “Distinguished Doctor Award”...read full bio