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Practice These 5 Prenatal Yoga Poses + Avoid These 5 Things During Your First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy is an incredibly exciting time. You have the wonderful news, you start to grow a child inside of you, and you get to look forward to all that lies ahead!

But the first trimester can also be one of the hardest as your body adjusts to this new demand. Most expecting mothers find that their energy drains immensely during the first trimester as their body works hard to implant the fetus and attach the placenta.

Many expecting mothers find that Prenatal Yoga can be a huge help to their changing bodies.

In addition to fatigue, many expecting mamas also experience nausea during the first trimester which can add to the cycle of fatigue. Your body also starts to release more and more hormones, which can also add to the fatigue cycle.

But there’s so much goodness to come that most expecting mothers don’t mind the few bumps in the road that the first trimester may bring. And many expecting mothers find that Prenatal Yoga can be a huge help to their changing bodies.

There are so many things to worry about during pregnancy, so we’ve lightened the load for you by laying out some precautions and practices that are perfect for your first trimester prenatal yoga practice.

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Here Are 5 Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind During First Trimester Prenatal Yoga:

Because of all the newfound physical demands on your body, first trimester Prenatal Yoga is often gentler than other practices to give your body the time and space that it needs to adjust to the changes.

1. Avoid Applying Pressure Directly Onto Your Lower Belly

The first trimester of pregnancy has the greatest risk of miscarriage. So, of course, you want to avoid movements that may contribute to that.

As your body works hard to implant the fetus, avoid putting deep pressure directly on your lower belly. This means avoid postures like Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Salabhasana (Locust Pose), which put unnecessary pressure on your uterus.

Feeling nauseous? Here are 5 Prenatal Yoga Poses to Relieve Morning Sickness


2. Avoid Deep Twists and Backbends

Similarly, you want to avoid disruption of the implantation process as much as possible. So stay away from deep belly twists and deep backbends that could compromise this process.

Avoid overstretching the abdominal muscles and compressing the uterus.

Expecting Mamas: Keep These 5 Key Pillars of Prenatal Yoga in Mind When You Practice

3. Avoid Jumps and Jolting Movements

Again, since first trimester prenatal yoga is all about nurturing the implantation process, you’ll want to avoid jerky movements that could disrupt this.

So hold off on jumping back to Chaturanga for now. You can always bring that practice back in your next trimester.
Looking for more yoga tutorials and yoga tips? Check out our full library of Yoga articles here

4. Avoid Deep Core Work

While core strengthening may be helpful for later trimesters to add in the pushing phase of childbirth, deep core work – especially during the more delicate first trimester – is probably best to avoid in order to maintain healthy implantation.

5. Avoid Certain Pranayama Techniques

Throughout pregnancy, you want to avoid breath retention (practices in which you hold the breath) so as to keep oxygen flowing to your child.

It is also advised to skip out on very forceful pranayama practices like Breath of Fire and Bellows Breath.

Here Are 5 Prenatal Yoga Poses and Practices for Your First Trimester:

Although it may seem like there’s a lot to avoid in first trimester Prenatal Yoga, there are still a lot of things that you can do.

Practice This Prenatal Yoga Class to Relax Your Body and Connect With Your Baby (Free 30-Minute Video)

1. Expansive, Soothing Pranayama


Gentle, expansive breathwork is an excellent addition to any practice, but it’s especially helpful for first trimester Prenatal Yoga.

Let’s try it:

  • Start in a comfortable seat
  • Draw your hands to your rib cage with your fingers pointing forward and your thumbs wrapping behind your back
  • Inhale deeply through your nose (or your mouth) and feel your lungs and ribs expand
  • Exhale deeply through your nose (or your mouth) and feel everything compress and draw in
  • With each breath, feel your entire rib basket move beneath your hands
  • Continue breathing like this for about a minute or so


2. Cat/Cow

Cat Cow pose

This gentle release of the back body can help to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and lower back while mobilizing the entire spine.

Let’s try it:

  • Come onto all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked roughly over your knees
  • As you inhale, soften your belly toward the floor, draw your chest forward toward the top of your mat, and energetically draw your hands toward the back of your mat. Hug your shoulder blades together and maybe lift your gaze
  • As you exhale, press down against your palms, round and curl your whole back body, and gaze toward your belly button
  • Continue flowing back and forth between Cat and Cow Pose as you follow the rhythm of your breath for as long as it feels good


3. Seated Figure-4

Seated Figure 4

This gentle hip opener is such a good first trimester Prenatal Yoga pose because you can choose how intense you’d like it to be.

Let’s try it:

  • Come to sit on a prop or your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor in front of you
  • Reach your arms behind your hips and lean your weight into your arms
  • Lift your right foot off the floor, open your hip, bend your knee, and cross your right ankle over your left knee to create a figure-4 shape
  • Gently press your chest forward toward your legs and gently press your right knee away from you
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before switching sides



4. Wide-Legged Child’s Pose

Wide Legged Childs Pose

This gentle posture is perfect for first trimester prenatal yoga because it helps you to slow down and relax while also offering a soft hip opener.

Let’s try it:

  • Come onto all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked roughly over your knees
  • Walk your knees out wide and release the weight of your hips down toward your heels
  • Melt the weight of your torso toward the floor between your legs and rest your forehead onto a prop or the floor
  • Soften your full body and draw your attention to your breath
  • Hold here for a few breaths or a few minutes

Practice While Pregnant: 5 Prenatal Yoga Modifications of Common Poses (Photo Tutorial)

5. Reclined Bound Angle Pose

Reclined Bound Angle

This super soothing and restorative posture is always a winner in first trimester Prenatal Yoga classes. It’s relaxing, supported, and just enough.

Let’s try it:

  • Lay a bolster down lengthwise on your mat and come to sit in front of it
  • Place your hands behind you to support your weight and slowly release your spine down onto the bolster behind you
  • Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide. You may wish to slide blocks underneath your knees to support their weight. Your feet can draw in toward your pelvis or slide away toward the end of the mat
  • If you’d like, you can roll up a blanket or a towel to slide it underneath your neck for extra support
  • Relax your arms by your sides or open out wide into a T-shape or reach them up over your head – choose whatever feels most comfortable for you
  • Soften your gaze or close your eyes and surrender into this shape for as long as you’d like

Navigate Your Pregnancy With Ease With This 11-Class Online Prenatal Yoga Program

The Takeaway on First Trimester Prenatal Yoga

As always in your yoga practice but especially during pregnancy, listen to your body! If something feels wrong, it is. Pay attention to what your body tells you and adjust accordingly.

Your body is intuitive and incredibly knowledgeable on its own. Learn to trust your innate wisdom and you will never be led astray.

Pay attention to what your body tells you and adjust accordingly.

Recognize that your body and your life are going through some pretty drastic and exciting changes. So adapt as you need to and enjoy the journey.

And know that your yoga practice – whether it’s a sweaty flow or a soothing pranayama practice – will always be there to support you along the way.

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

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