5 Yoga Poses to Practice During Your Third Trimester + Heed These 3 Precautions

Leah Sugerman
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The third trimester of pregnancy is when everything gets real. Your body changes drastically and you start to prepare for childbirth and motherhood. For many expecting mothers, prenatal yoga becomes your best friend during this time.

And for many good reasons! Prenatal yoga helps to prepare your body for what’s to come and helps to soothe and relax your nervous system.

Third trimester prenatal yoga is often focused on strengthening the pelvic floor to prepare for childbirth and working with the breath to find a sense of calm within the storm.

Because there are so many things to worry about toward the end of your pregnancy, we’ve lightened the load for you by laying out some precautions and some best practices for your third trimester prenatal yoga practice.

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

Here Are 3 Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind During Your Third Trimester Prenatal Yoga Practice:

As your body continues to change and grow, your third trimester prenatal yoga practice will need to change and grow with it.

Follow the same safety precautions noted for your first trimester and your second trimester and apply these new precautions as well.
 

1. Avoid Long-Held Inversions

In general, inversions might not feel good for you during your third trimester, but if they still do, it’s best to avoid holding them for long periods of time.

Not only can long-held inversions exacerbate common annoyances during your third trimester (like heartburn), they can also affect the positioning of your baby as it starts to turn head down in your uterus.

So to avoid all of these issues, skip out on turning upside down for long periods of time and save all those long, juicy inversions for your postpartum practice (after you’re cleared by your doctor, of course!).
 

 
 

2. Move Mindfully

Hopefully this is a rule throughout your yoga practice at all times. But, moving mindfully becomes especially important during your third trimester prenatal yoga classes.

At this point in your pregnancy, your body will have changed a lot and will continue changing rapidly until you give birth. Your belly will be much larger than you’re accustomed to so your practice will need to be modified to accommodate for it.

The large size of your baby pressing against internal organs will affect your breath and will make it harder for you to catch your breath in a faster-paced practice. So move mindfully with intention during your third trimester and enjoy slowing down.

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

3. Listen Carefully to Your Body

Again, this is something that you hopefully do all the time in your yoga practice – not just when you’re pregnant. But it is especially important to listen to your body extra carefully during this time.

Pay close attention to any new aches and pains as they arise. Recognize what alleviates them and what exacerbates them. Bring your awareness to your breath and notice when it is smooth and steady and when it is rapid and inconsistent.

Listen carefully to what your body is telling you and always follow its lead so that both you and your baby will remain safe throughout your third trimester prenatal yoga practice.
 
 

Practice These 5 Yoga Poses During Your Third Trimester Prenatal Yoga Classes:

Although it may seem like there’s a lot to avoid in your third trimester prenatal yoga practice, there are still a lot of things that you can do.
 

1. Garland Pose

Garland Pose

Squatting helps to open the outlet of the pelvic floor, which may be extremely useful for labor and delivery.

Let’s try it:

  • Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart
  • Turn your toes out and your heels in slightly to create external rotation in your thighs
  • Bend your knees deeply and lower down into a squat. You may wish to sit on a block or a bolster for added support. You may also wish to roll up the edge of your yoga mat or a blanket to support underneath your heels
  • Sink the weight of your hips toward the floor and lengthen the crown of your head toward the sky
  • Bring your arms into any comfortable position. You may wish to draw your hands to meet in front of your heart or rest your hands over your belly
  • Relax your gaze or close your eyes and bring your attention to your breath
  • Soften into this shape for about five to 20 deep breaths

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

2. Bird Dog

Bird Dog

Getting on all fours is great to help move your baby into an anterior position. You also get to use gravity to your advantage to take the bulk of your baby’s weight off of your spine. This balancing variation also helps to build your endurance as you prepare for childbirth.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked roughly over your wrists and your knees slightly wider than hip-distance apart
  • Spread your fingers wide and ground down equally into the perimeter of your palms
  • Stretch your right leg toward the back of your mat and release your toes to the floor behind you as you kick back firmly through your heel
  • Option to stay as you are or pour your weight into your right hand and rise to your left fingertips
  • Option to stay as you are or lift your left hand off the floor and stretch it forward toward the top of your mat
  • Option to stay as you are or float your right foot off the floor and kick back with the same amount of energy that you reach forward
  • Stabilize and hold for about five deep breaths before switching sides

 

3. Goddess Pose

Goddess

This gentle hip opener also helps to build endurance and strength in your legs and pelvic floor.

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
  • Turn your toes out and your heels in slightly to create external rotation in your thighs
  • Bend your knees and sink down into a squatting stance
  • Rest your hands wherever feels comfortable – on your thighs, on your belly, or at your heart
  • Draw your awareness to your breath and hold here for about five to 20 deep breaths

 

4. Wide-Legged Chair Pose

Wide Legged Chair

Build more endurance as you work with your breath in this challenging posture to help prepare your body for labor.

Let’s try it:

  • Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and your hands on your hips
  • Bend your knees deeply and sink into a squat with your weight leaning back toward your heels. You may wish to practice this with your back against a wall
  • Option to sweep your arms up to the sky to frame out your face
  • Draw your awareness to your breath
  • With every inhale, lift slightly out of your knees and elongate your spine
  • With every exhale, sink your hips a little bit lower as you breathe into the intense sensations
  • Continue like this for a few long, deep breaths

 

 
 

5. Bound Angle Pose

Bound Angle

This gentle pose is perfect for your third trimester prenatal yoga practice because it reminds you to slow down and breath while accommodating for your belly, gently opening your hips, and soothing your achy lower back.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated on a prop or your mat
  • Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide
  • Slide your feet slightly forward away from your pelvis and maybe place blocks or blankets underneath your knees for added support
  • Relax the weight of your torso forward and down onto a prop or onto your elbows or down toward the floor
  • Relax your gaze or close your eyes and surrender into this shape for as long as you’d like

 
These 11 Online Prenatal Yoga Classes Will Help You Ease Your Pregnancy
 
 

The Takeaway on Third Trimester Prenatal Yoga

Your third trimester prenatal yoga practice may be your most sacred practice of all. When your little one arrives, you’ll likely have a lot less time for yourself and your practice. So use this time to really tune in with your body, your breath, your mind, and your baby.

Always listen to what your body has to say and adjust however you need to find comfort and ease in your practice. Pay attention to the wealth of knowledge and wisdom stored within your tissues throughout your practice and it will not lead you astray.

Enjoy the beauty and quietude of your yoga practice during this time and look forward to the greatest adventure that awaits you ahead.

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 Third Trimester Prenatal Yoga Practice?

Join Healthy Mama, Happy Baby with Jess Rose on YA Classes!

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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.

leahsugerman.com

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