Best Yoga Poses for the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Yoga poses for the second trimester
Image © fizkes / Adobe Stock

You’ve gotten through your first trimester and are in the second stretch of your pregnancy. Now, that your body starts changing you may be wondering what the best yoga poses for the second trimester are.

A Great Time to Start or Resume Your Yoga Practice

Doing yoga during pregnancy can be very beneficial. Yet, many women skip or tune down their practice in the first trimester due to feeling too sick or sluggish.

The second trimester, however, is an excellent time for you to resume or make the most of your yoga practice. Your belly is growing but isn’t yet big enough to hamper your ability to move freely. You also likely have more energy than you did in the first trimester and more than you’re likely going to have in your third.

If you are new to yoga, that’s a great place to start, too. It’s best that you opt for prenatal yoga classes. If you do not have those around, you can do regular yoga during pregnancy. However, it may be best that you go for gentle yoga styles such as Hatha.

Make sure your yoga instructor is comfortable teaching pregnant women and you know which yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy to ensure that your practice is safe.

Before we jump into the best yoga poses for the second trimester, let’s look at what your body and your baby are going through.

The Changes in Your Body during the Second Trimester

The second trimester is weeks 13 through 27.

During the first trimester, you may not have noticed much difference in your body. The second trimester is going to change that. You may want to go maternity clothes shopping to dress the bump.

Your breast will no longer feel sore, but they will keep growing as your milk glands enlarge, and your breasts deposit fat tissue to prepare for breastfeeding. You can invest in some maternity bras and sports bras with wide straps if you haven’t yet. They’ll feel more comfortable and provide more support.

You may start feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. These are mild, will feel like slight tightness, and will also be irregular. They prepare your body for labor. However, if contractions are regular and increase in intensity, contact your health care provider as it may be preterm labor.

In addition to those, you may also experience skin changes due to increased hormone levels. These include dry skin, darker patches, a line down your belly, as well as stretch marks.

Hormones may also make you have a stuffy nose, get more nosebleeds, experience lower back pain and dental issues. You may also get leg cramps or have swollen ankles, especially if you spend much time standing up.

The increased blood volume will lower your blood pressure. As a result, you may feel dizzy. When you do yoga, keep that in mind and transition slowly between poses. Feel free to rest in Child’s Pose of modified Savasana if you feel dizzy.

Your Baby’s Development in the Second Trimester

During the second trimester, your baby will grow from the size of a lemon to that of a cauliflower.  By the end of the first trimester, all of your baby’s organs will have formed, and they’ll continue to develop until your baby is born.

Your baby’s brain now is able to control the muscles, which means that your little one can move. You’ll start feeling your baby’s movements from around week 16 to 25 or even earlier if it’s not your first pregnancy.

At first, your baby’s movements will feel like tiny flutters or gas, but they’ll get stronger with time. So, by the end of your second trimester, you’ll likely feel little jabs or kicks to your bladder.

In the second trimester, your baby will start growing eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair. Fingernails and toenails start forming too.

By the end of the second trimester, your baby will be able to recognize your voice and maybe daddy’s voice as well. If you haven’t yet, it’s a great time to start reading books to your baby or playing music. Both can be really beneficial for the baby and help you bond.

Between weeks 18 and 20 you’ll have an ultrasound during which you’ll find out whether you’re having a boy or a girl.

10 Best Yoga Poses for the Second Trimester

1. Cat-Cows with Tail Wag

Cat-Cows are beneficial for any stage of pregnancy. They help you release tension in the back and gently warm up the spine and core before moving on to other postures.

To create more space in the abdominal area and move your spine in different directions, add tail wag.

After you’ve done a few rounds of Cat-Cows, return to Table Top. Then, inhale and, on your next exhale, turn your head to the right and look at your hips. This will extend your opposite side.

Inhale as you return back to Table Top and repeat that on the other side. Do 3-5 rounds or as many as it feels good.

2. Puppy Pose

As the weight in your front body increases, there is more strain on your back and it may affect your posture. Shoulder and chest openers can feel really good to counter that.

Puppy Pose offers a stretch in the upper body and helps you open the chest and create more flexibility in your shoulder joints. Since in the second trimester you cannot practice belly-down chest opening yoga poses such as Cobra or Sphinx Pose, Puppy pose can serve as a substitute for them.

Keep your hips over your knees and place your forehead on the mat. If you feel that you can go deeper in the pose, place your chin on the mat.

3. Open Revolved Chair Pose

Chair Pose can help you strengthen your glutes, legs, ankles, and feet. Stronger legs can help you feel more balanced, as well as improve the circulation in your feet and ankles which can help to prevent or deal with the swelling in the ankles.

To work on opening the chest and side body, add a gentle open twist. As you exhale, turn to your right and stretch your arms to your sides, parallel to the mat. You’ll be getting the benefits of Revolved Chair Pose without making it a closed twist.

Use a chair or the wall if balancing is challenging. And finally, make sure your knees do not go past your toes. This can place too much strain on the knees and make them hurt. Take a look at your toes. If you can’t see them, shift your hips back. It’ll feel more challenging, too.

4. Modified Chaturanga

Although full Chaturanga is hard even when you are not pregnant, there a benefits to doing a modified version of it during pregnancy. It can keep your arms and shoulders strong and gently work on your core without stressing your abs.

To modify Chaturanga for pregnancy, drop your knees to the mat. Then, pull your belly button in, pug your elbows into your sides, and make sure not to collapse in your shoulders or hips.

5. Cow Face Pose

Cow Face Pose is a chest and hip opener that can relieve tension in the upper body and stretch the outer hip muscles thus creating more mobility in the hip joints. If your hands do not touch behind your back, use a strap.

If stacking your knees over each other feels uncomfortable or presses on the belly, sit in Butterfly Pose or cross-legged instead. Place a folded blanket under your hips if you start rounding your back.

6. Tree Pose

Maintaining balance will become trickier as your pregnancy progresses. So, working on balance can help you stay strong and more stable. Tree Pose is great for that as it has plenty of variations that you can try based on how challenging you want it to be. It helps you work on opening the hips as well.

Place your foot by your ankle, on your shin, or inner thigh. The higher your foot is, the more challenging the pose will be. Hold your hands in prayer pose in front of your chest or bring them over your head. You can always prop yourself against the wall if all of that is too challenging for your sense of balance.

7. Pyramid Pose with Reverse Prayer Hands

Pyramid Pose works on developing flexibility in the hips and hamstrings. However, placing your hand in Reverse Prayer helps open up the chest and shoulders.

Reverse Prayer Hands may feel uncomfortable. So, you may round your back. If you notice yourself doing that, move your shoulders back and open the chest instead. You can also grab opposite elbows if Reverse Prayer feels too much for you now.

Keep your back straight. That may not allow you to fold as deep, but you will feel a deeper stretch in your hamstrings.

8. Triangle Pose

Triangle Pose will help you work on your hip flexibility and create more space in your abdominal area by stretching your sides. Prop your bottom hand on a block if the pose feels too challenging.

9. Warrior Poses

Warrior Poses are excellent yoga poses for developing hip flexibility and strengthening leg muscles in the second trimester. The former will help you prepare for delivery.  Meanwhile, the latter can help with your sense of balance and prevent swelling in the ankles.

10. Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is not only good for resting. It also is one of the best yoga poses to relieve lower back pain. You may start experiencing it as your pregnancy progresses. Child’s Pose gently stretches and decompresses the spine which can ease lower back pain.

Let’s Talk!

Are you in your second trimester? How is it treating you? Which poses do like practicing best?

If you aren’t there yet, check out the best yoga poses for the first trimester instead.


There are 2 comments

    1. Karina

      Hi Sam, try placing your hands on blocks. If that’s too intense, try a chair. If you choose a chair, tuck your tailbone in to engage your lower abs. That’ll make sure that you open the shoulders. Make sure that your hips remain above your knees, though you can widen your knees if that feels more comfortable. Let me know how that feels.

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