The second trimester of pregnancy is sometimes the most exciting. You start to “show.” You start to feel some fluttering kicks. You might even fall into a pregnancy groove as you start to get used to the many changes happening in your life.
For most, the second trimester offers a boost in energy and a decrease in nausea. Many call this the “feel good” trimester because of these changes. So for many expecting mothers, the second trimester is the perfect time to get back into their movement practice.
And, of course, your beloved yoga practice is ready and waiting for you at this time. But you may have lots of questions about what you should and should not do in your yoga practice throughout your pregnancy.
Because there are so many things to worry about during pregnancy, we’ve lightened the load for you by laying out some precautions and practices that are perfect for your second trimester yoga practice.
Here Are 5 Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind During Your Second Trimester Yoga Practice:
As your body continues to change and grow, your second trimester yoga practice will need to change and grow with it.
Follow the same safety precautions noted for your first trimester prenatal yoga practice and apply these new precautions as well.
In case you missed it: Avoid These 5 Things During Your First Trimester
1. Modify for Your New Belly
Because your belly starts to grow quickly at this time, second trimester yoga practices should have lots of modifications to give space to your new belly.
This may mean taking your feet wider than hip-distance apart for forward folds or perhaps not folding forward as deeply. Whatever you need to do to modify, just give your belly the space it needs throughout your practice so that you don’t inadvertently compress your uterus.
2. Avoid Prone Positions
At this point in your pregnancy, your belly bump starts to show and changes the front side of your body. So during your second trimester yoga practice, it will likely start to feel uncomfortable to lay directly on your belly.
Avoid postures that require you to lay prone. Substitute Upward Facing Dog for Cobra Pose with a rolled up blanket beneath your hips to create space for your belly, and switch out Locust Pose for some Cat/Cow. Adjust however you need to in order to not apply pressure onto your growing belly.
3. Avoid Going “Deeper”
Throughout pregnancy, your body releases specific hormones to prepare for childbirth. Relaxin is a noteworthy hormone that floods your bloodstream to help loosen joints, muscles, and connective tissue around your pelvis to allow for a child to pass through the birth canal.
With so much newfound flexibility, it may be tempting to exploit your loose body and move deeply into your favorite stretches. However, this has the potential to destabilize joints or overstretch muscles long-term, so it’s best to stick within your pre-pregnancy range of motion.
Instead of pushing deeper in postures and stretches, pull back slightly so as to avoid injury.
4. Use Support
Because you’re carrying around newfound weight in the front of your body, you may feel slightly off balance – especially when you practice balance postures. So be cautious and practice balance poses next to a wall or chair for added support in case you need.
Also use the support of props throughout your whole practice. Blankets, yoga blocks, yoga strap, pillows, and a yoga bolster will all become your best friends throughout your entire second trimester yoga practice (and likely throughout your entire prenatal yoga practice!).
5. Limit the Time You Spend Lying Supine
The inferior vena cava is an important vein that controls blood flow between the lower body and the heart. Compressing this vein can lead to serious complications and a risky drop in blood pressure.
So when you practice second trimester yoga, it’s best to either avoid lying completely supine or to strictly limit the amount of time you spend on your back. This means take your Final Resting Pose (Savasana) on your side and skip any cool downs practiced lying flat on your back.
Use These 5 Yoga Poses During Your Second Trimester Yoga Practice:
Although it may seem like there’s a lot to avoid in second trimester yoga, there are still a lot of things that you can do.
1. Modified Side Plank
Build some strength in your arms, legs, and center with this expansive but supported variation of Side Plank.
Let’s try it:
- Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked roughly over your knees. You may wish to widen your knees apart for more stability
- Stretch your right leg toward the back of your mat and release your toes to the floor
- Tuck your left toes and slide your left foot out toward the left create a “kickstand” with your foot
- Open your right hip so it stacks roughly over your left and release the big toe side of your foot to the floor behind your left knee
- Shift your weight into your left hand and rise to your right fingertips
- Either stay as you are or spiral your torso toward the right side of your mat as you sweep your right arm toward the sky
- Hold for about five deep breaths before switching sides
2. Warrior II
This standard strengthening posture is excellent for expecting mothers because it strengthens the legs and the pelvic floor while gently opening the hips.
Let’s try it:
- Start standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and your hands on your hips
- Take a big step back with your right foot and turn your hips to face the long edge of your mat
- Find a distance between your legs that feels strong and stable (it will likely be a slightly shorter stance than you’re used to for Warrior II)
- Release your back heel to the floor and turn your toes to face roughly toward the right
- Point the toes of your front foot toward the top of your mat and bend your front knee
- Reach your arms out wide into a T-shape
- Stabilize and hold for about five deep breaths before switching sides
3. Twisting Wide-Legged Forward Fold
This gentle hip opener, forward fold, and twist might just feel like magic in your second trimester yoga practice as it softly opens tight places in your aching body.
Let’s try it:
- Start standing in Mountain Pose facing the long edge of your mat
- Walk your feet apart to find a stable and comfortable wide-legged stance
- Place a yoga block on its highest height setting in front of you and fold your torso forward to release your hands onto the block
- Root your left hand into the block and draw your right hand to your hip
- Spiral and twist your torso toward the right and allow your hips to sway with the twist
- Option to stay as you are or reach your right hand toward the sky
- Hold here for about five deep breaths before switching sides
4. Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Utilize support with lots of props in this uber-relaxing forward fold.
Let’s try it:
- Start sitting on a prop of your choice (yoga blocks, blanket, pillow, etc.) facing the long edge of your mat
- Stretch your legs forward in front of you and then open them out wide into a V-shape (at less than your maximum range of motion)
- Option to bend your knees and slide blocks underneath them if you’d like
- Place a block in front of you on its medium or highest height setting
- Prop a yoga bolster lengthwise on top of the block to create a sloping angle down toward your pelvis
- Relax your torso forward and down toward your bolster. You can hug your bolster as you surrender over it or bend your elbows and hold your chin in your hands
- Surrender here for a few deep breaths
5. Side Lying Savasana
This soothing side lying position with lots of props will likely be your favorite second trimester yoga pose.
Let’s try it:
- Start seated in the middle of your mat and lean your weight to rest on your left hip
- Roll up a blanket or towel and place it at the top of your mat to use as a pillow for your head
- Bend both your knees and slide a bolster in between your legs, running lengthwise from your knee joints down to your ankle joints
- Slowly and mindfully lower onto your left side and rest your head on your pillow
- You can slide your left arm out toward the side of your mat or use it to prop up your head
- Soften your right arm over your side body, onto your belly, or in front of your chest
- Relax your gaze or close your eyes and surrender into this shape for as long as you’d like
The Takeaway on Second Trimester Yoga
It’s the golden rule of yoga, but it’s especially important during your pregnancy: listen to your body! If anything feels “off,” stop and readjust. Whenever you need an extra moment to catch your breath or find your balance, take it.
Follow your body’s intuitive wisdom as you move through your second trimester yoga practice and it will not lead you astray.
Acknowledge the amazing changes that are happening in both your body and your life and face these changes with grace, acceptance, and compassion. Adjust your practice however you need to in order to keep up with these changes.
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.
Ready to Jump Into Your Second Trimester Yoga Practice?
With Jess Rose
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