Prohibited Yoga Poses to Avoid During Pregnancy or What Postures are Unsafe?
There is so much hype about yoga healing qualities the last two decades that one might think that this is a universal tool for overcoming any disease from heart problems to mental issues and that it’s good for everyone at any time. Let me tell you simply – no, fairy tales are not real and yoga, as any activity has its hidden rocks.
And now, when you’re pregnant you need to know about them, to keep it safe for you and your baby. While it’s true that many of yoga asana can help you with some of prenatal issues, such as back pain, headaches, constipation, labored breath and so on; there are general and specific contraindications for some postures.
The downside of extreme popularity of yoga classes is that there are way too many teachers, and some of them are not experienced enough, or have only the experience of working with fit young people at the gym.
They will not have yet the knowledge needed to work with someone in such delicate state as yours. Those are not for you.
Then, there are general fitness instructors who normally incorporate yoga postures in their workouts, only as a tool to increase students’ power, flexibility and endurance, ignoring breathing techniques and mental preparation. Those are not for you also.
And the last group is the yoga junkies, the true believers, the ones who live and breathe yoga. They tend to ignore any medical advises and have faith in magic qualities of their ancient remedy for all illnesses. So better avoid them too.
Before we talk about unsafe yoga poses during pregnancy, let’s start with the basics. Even before you’re pregnant there are states and illnesses which may make yoga not the safest activity for you.
General contraindications are:
- OHD (Organic Heart Disease);
- Serious spinal and recent head injuries;
- Musculoskeletal system infections;
Then, I guess you already know that not every pregnancy is a good time for exercise. If you’re at high risk of the miscarriage, then you better not risk yoga and limit yourself to the mildest physical activities such as walking.
The other contraindications for the excessive workout are:
- Vaginal bleeding;
- Premature dilation;
- High blood pressure;
- Hear disease;
- Lung disease.
What yoga poses to avoid when pregnant even if you don’t have anything in your pregnancy that prohibits you practicing sports? There is a shortlist, which includes:
- Deep twists;
- Deep backbends;
- Lying on the belly;
- Lying on the back;
- Fast breathing;
- Hot yoga.
Now let’s discuss every posture separately in more details.
Is dangerous, because of the relaxing hormone, which purposes it to prepare your body for delivery by softening your ligaments and bones. So, while you might be getting even more flexible than usual you might easily overstretch your muscles.
It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do any stretching at all, just never let it go up to the point when it hurts, avoid bouncing and don’t put any pressure on the joints and ligaments.
The next one of the most unsafe yoga positions to avoid during pregnancy is twist. Can be great for relieving the pain of the entire back area, which is a good feature when you’re pregnant.
But the problem with the really deep twists is that they require the compression of the abdominal area and obviously this can disturb your uterus work, cutting the blood supply, for example.
In this case are defined by the poses when your pelvis and your feet are above your heart level, for example the headstands. The postures like Dog Downwards we don’t count such. The problem with the inversions is not the position itself – there’s no harm in being upside down, but the danger of falling.
The growing belly will be constantly changing your balance which increases the risk of the fall. Also, the relaxing hormone, which we mentioned before puts your pelvis in a position of vulnerability towards stretching and subsequently predispose you for an injury.
So one thing for sure – if you were not familiar with yoga before pregnancy it’s not the time now to start with the inversions. Though if you’re experienced practitioner you might try to continue them, but always weighting up the pros and cons before.
My personal opinion – the benefits of inversions can be received with other asana and there’s no reason to put your health in danger for them.
Are usually considered to be quite safe if you practice yoga in second trimester, though there’s always a bit of a risk of overstretching of the linear alba, which can get you diastasis which can lead to hernia. But if you decide to do yoga on the first trimester (which is not recommended) then keep them out of your routine – the baby is still attaching itself to the uterus and uterus is attached to ligaments, I’ll let you do the math yourself.
But, by all means if it feels good for your back, bend it, but be moderate, leave a really deep bends for afterbirth.
Laying on your stomach
Laying on your stomach is fine when you don’t have a bump, but once you got your belly growing the many face-down poses get prohibited. And really, would you like to, seriously?
Laying on you back
It is one of the most dangerous yoga poses during pregnancy. There are large veins running next to your spinal cord, and when you’re facing up, the weight of the uterus is pushing on them, cutting the blood flow to your brain. This can raise your heart rate, cause dizziness, shortness of breath and even result in loss of consciousness.
Can be a part of the pranayama (breathing control), such as Kapalabhati which requires rapid inhales and exhales. Basically this would be hyperventilation which can lead to anxiety, fainting or sore chest muscles.
Hot yoga is practiced in studios with the temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius. It exposes you to the risk of maternal hyperthermia which might cause damage to the neural tube of the baby.
So in the first trimester hot Bikram yoga is totally out of question. As the pregnancy progresses, this kind of yoga gets relatively safer. But even then you should be extra cautious and leave the class at any sign of discomfort from your body.
Here is a short video about yoga positions to avoid in pregnancy:
Banned asanas in different trimesters
Now let’s move to pregnancy trimesters. As we all know pregnancy consists of 3 trimester and in this section prohibited poses will be discussed in details.
Which yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy first trimester? As I mentioned before the medical advice is to avoid starting the yoga practice in the first trimester when there is a highest risk of the miscarriage. But if you prefer to ignore it, still better to skip for a while the inverted poses, as this position takes away the blood from the uterus.
Yoga poses to avoid in early pregnancy are:
- Pincha Mayurasana (Feathered peacock).
- Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand).
- Salamba Sirsasana (Supported headstand).
- Salamba Sarvangasana (Support Shoulderstand).
- Halasana (Plow pose).
Also specialists recommend to avoid doing any high-energy sequences, such as Sun Salutations and skip for the moment deep backbends as they stretch the abdominal muscles too much. Pregnant yoga poses to avoid during first trimester are:
- Ustrasana (Camel pose).
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose).
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana 1-2 (One-legged pigeon pose).
- Kapotasana (Pigeon pose).
- Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow) e.t. c.
What yoga poses are unsafe during pregnancy in second trimester? At this time the relaxing hormone is entering the stage, so you should be careful and avoid over-stretching, that means no Paripurna Navasana (Boat pose) and other strong abdominal poses.
Also the baby bump starts to show, so the poses lying on the belly are either out or have to be specially modified. Here is the shortlist of pregnancy yoga poses to avoid during second trimester:
- Bhujangsana (Cobra pose).
- Salambhasana (Locust pose).
- Urdhava Mukha Svanasana (Upward facing dog) e.t.c.
You also should stay out of some pranayama (breathing exercise) which requires you to hold your breath or breath rapidly, because it can break the oxygen supply for the baby. There go:
- Viloma (Interval breathing).
- Kapalabhati (Skull shining breath).
Don’t do the deep twists, folding the abdomen area and perform only the ones for the upper body. Say no to :
- Pasasana (Noose pose).
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half lord of the fishes pose) e.t.c.
What yoga positions to avoid during pregnancy in third trimester? List for the third trimester will look the same as the one for the second, the only thing to add is that the big belly might throw off your balance badly, so you better be aware and be careful even with some basic standing asana and do them next to the wall or a chair, to hold if needed.
Be ready to stop your yoga classes as soon as you feel that it gets too challenging for you physically, now it’s the time to prepare to bringing new life into this world and get a little bit of rest before the baby takes away all of your time.
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