Prenatal yoga can alleviate many of the common aches and pains of pregnancy. But in your second trimester, when your body is really starting to change, it can be difficult to know what is and isn’t safe and helpful. This post is here to clarify what you should focus on and what you should avoid in second trimester yoga.
(The contents of this post do not constitute medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read our disclaimer.)
Second Trimester Yoga
The second trimester is often thought of as the “golden era” of pregnancy. You’re probably past the worst of your morning sickness, your energy is picking back up, and this may be the point when you’re ready to tell the world that you’re expecting!
The second trimester is also a great time to start enjoying the benefits of prenatal yoga. If you practiced yoga before getting pregnant, you may have kept your pre-pregnancy yoga routine through your first trimester. Whether that’s true or you’re getting started with yoga now, you’ll need some advice and modifications that are specific to your pregnant body!
At this point, you may want to seek out in-person prenatal yoga classes to get some face-to-face advice from an experienced prenatal yoga teacher. Or you might be more comfortable following second trimester prenatal yoga videos at home.
Either way, the following tips will help you develop a safe prenatal yoga practice that will ease any discomfort you’re feeling in your second trimester.
As with any new exercise or movement, make sure to check in with your healthcare provider before starting a prenatal yoga practice. They may even have some resources to help you get started!
What to Focus on in Second Trimester Yoga
Your second trimester is a great time to start preparing your body for labor and childbirth. You can take advantage of the increase in energy that many get during their second trimester. You can start working with the ways your body is changing, but you likely won’t need as many yoga modifications for pregnancy as you will in your third trimester.
Some other essential tips for second trimester yoga are:
Try linking breath to movement.
Having a strong connection to your breath will be essential during labor and childbirth. Try practicing a style of yoga, like vinyasa or slow flow, that links breath to movement at least once per week to really get in touch with your breath.
Listen to your body.
No one knows your body better than you. As you experience the changes brought on by your second trimester – expanding belly! looser joints! – remember that only you know how far you should push yourself.
If a teacher or video suggests something that feels uncomfortable or painful, you can back off or try another pose. On the other hand, if you feel you want more, honor your intuition there as well.
I was already a fan of props before pregnancy (they just make everything cozier), but I developed an even deeper appreciation for them while I was pregnant.
You may want to have these props on hand for your prenatal yoga practice:
I appreciated sitting on a bolster when I was practicing deep breathing during pregnancy. It created more space in my torso for my lungs to expand. And it provided a pelvic tilt that made sitting for long periods more comfortable.
Bolsters are also amazing for restorative yoga poses and can create extra space for your growing belly in poses like child’s pose.
Blocks can provide extra stability and bring the floor closer to you. This is especially important when the relaxin hormone kicks in and makes your body stretchier. Using blocks can help you continue to practice yoga without pushing too far and potentially injuring yourself.
I loved having a heavier blanket on hand during my prenatal yoga practice. I used it to provide extra cushion for my knees in kneeling poses like tabletop. Covering yourself with a blanket in restorative poses can also be very comforting, and we all need a little extra comfort when pregnant!
Related: 5 Best Prenatal Yoga Mats
Practice prenatal yoga poses for your hips and lower back.
Childbirth has been compared to running a marathon, and there’s a reason for that! Just as you wouldn’t step up to the starting line on race day without training, labor and birth go better with preparation, too.
Start preparing your body for birth during your second trimester by practicing poses that open and relieve tension in your hips and lower back. Some poses that do this include:
- forward fold
- triangle pose
- bound angle pose
- child’s pose
What to Avoid in Second Trimester Yoga
While practicing yoga during your second trimester can be extremely beneficial, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for.
Be aware of the hormone relaxin.
During your second trimester, your body starts to produce higher levels of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin does just what its name suggests – it relaxes your joints, muscles, and ligaments to prepare for the stretching your body will need to do during birth. There was actually a week during my second trimester where I remember feeling everything in my pelvic region loosen up!
The presence of this hormone means that you’re suddenly more flexible! But your joints and ligaments aren’t able to provide you with as much support as usual, so it can be easy to take second trimester yoga poses too far and end up hurting yourself.
During your yoga practice, be aware of this change in your body and work with it. Take care not to overstretch, and instead of going all the way to your edge, consciously back off before you get there. Preventing an injury means that you will feel better and have more opportunities to prepare for the marathon of birth!
Take precautions with balancing poses.
Did you know that your center of gravity changes throughout pregnancy? It will shift forward and up as your uterus expands. Because of this, many people can find themselves off-balance during pregnancy.
Practicing prenatal yoga is a great way to develop balance and stability in response to your changing center of gravity. Adding a few precautions can make balancing poses safer as you adjust to the changes:
- Practice balancing poses close to a wall or chair so extra support is available when you need it.
- You can also practice balancing poses with a partner, holding on to their hands for increased stability.
- In wide-legged poses where you bend to the side, like triangle pose or reversed warrior, shorten your stance for improved balance. You may also practice them against a wall for increased stability.
Don’t overdo it.
While you’re probably feeling extra energy after that first trimester fatigue, it’s possible to go too far during second trimester yoga. Follow these general guidelines to ensure you don’t overdo it with your second trimester yoga practice:
- Stop practicing if you feel dizzy, nauseous, or short of breath.
- Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water throughout the day and during your yoga practice.
- Avoid hot yoga, which could cause overheating or hyperthermia.
- Stop practicing if you experience pain in your chest, abdomen, or pelvis.
- Avoid deep backbends and abdominal twists.
- Unless you had a robust inversion practice before pregnancy, avoid inversions for now.
Practicing yoga during your second trimester can help alleviate pregnancy symptoms and prepare your body for childbirth. Remember to focus on your breath, listen to your body, and take precautions so you can enjoy all the benefits of second trimester yoga!
What has your experience been with second trimester yoga? Tell me in the comments!