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5 Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy

Written By: Roma Kunde

Roma Kunde is a freelance content writer with a biotechnology and medical background. She has completed her B. Tech in Biotechnology and certification in Clinical Research. She has 8 years of writing and editing experience in fields such as biomedical research, food/lifestyle, website content, marketing, and NGO services. She has written blog articles for websites related to medicine, construction chemicals, current affairs, marketing, and cosmetics.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

5 Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy | MyFitnessPal

Key Takeaways

  • Yoga during pregnancy offers relaxation, stress relief, and physical benefits like strength and flexibility.
  • Avoid deep, closed twists, such as the Lord of the Fishes pose, to protect your abdomen and baby during pregnancy.
  • Skip full inversions, such as headstands and handstands, to prevent falls and potential injuries.
  • Stay away from lying flat on your back in poses like Shavasana (Corpse Pose) to avoid compressing major blood vessels and risking dizziness or nausea.
  • Steer clear of deep forward folds and full inversions to prevent discomfort and complications as pregnancy progresses.
  • Work with a qualified prenatal yoga teacher to ensure a safe and comfortable practice for you and your baby.

Pregnancy is an exciting and hopeful time. But, not every day feels like roses and rainbows. 

Your comfort level pays the price as your organs shift and squeeze to give your baby room to grow. And don’t forget hormone ups and downs, making you feel unlike your usual self.

It’s enough to bring on the pregnancy blues, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. According to a recent study, yoga for pregnant women can help improve physical and emotional well-being by keeping them active and stress-free.

While practicing yoga during pregnancy is often low-risk, some poses may not be best for your baby bump. Always talk to your healthcare professional first about what’s beneficial and safe for you to do.  

Top 5 Yoga Poses You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Before rolling out your yoga mats, let’s look at the yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy to help keep you and your baby safe. 

1. Belly-Down Poses Like Bow Pose and Locust Pose

Yoga and pregnancy go hand in hand. But as your belly grows, finding a comfortable and safe position isn’t easy. And belly-down yoga poses like Bow Pose or Locust Pose definitely fit that category.

Face-down stretches or lying on your stomach can increase abdominal pressure, forcing those core muscles apart even more as your pregnancy advances. That widening space between your abdominal muscles is called diastasis recti. If this space gets too wide, any present lower back and pelvic pain could feel worse and poorly affect your posture. 

So, instead of trying to lie face down, add gentle stretches to your regular practice.

2. Deep Twist Poses That Can Put Pressure on Your Organs

With your baby on board, avoid deep, closed twists like the Revolved Triangle or the Lord of the Fishes pose. Twisty poses are like an uncomfortably tight hug, pressing your organs and limiting the baby’s space.  

But beyond discomfort, these yoga positions aren’t the best for keeping regular blood flow throughout your body, which means less nutrients and oxygen for your baby.

Also, twisting can cause unexpected bodily injury due to increased hormone levels, such as relaxin. As its name suggests, this hormone helps relax your muscles and ligaments to prepare your body for birth. 

Since your joints and muscles become a little loser, practicing closed twists can increase your risk of injury or overstretching. Your best bet is to stick with gentle, open twists so your body and baby have a smooth and safe journey.

3. Forward Folds During Vinyasa Sequences

During pregnancy, yoga positions like forward folds with your feet together can feel like touching your toes with a watermelon strapped to your body. 

You may also feel wonky trying to balance with your baby growing inside because your center of gravity shifts with the baby’s increasing weight. That weight gain brings unwelcome guests like back pain and abdominal pressure, and forward folds just make them feel worse.

Instead, why not try wide-legged, gentle forward bends? They might help you feel better and more comfortable.

4. Lying Flat in Shavasana Later in Your Pregnancy

The ultimate relaxation pose is Shavasana, aka Corpse Pose, where you lie flat on your back. But if you’re in the later weeks of pregnancy, hold your yoga mats. 

Lying flat on your back is not good for your blood pressure. This position can squeeze your inferior vena cava — a major blood vessel responsible for returning blood to your heart. Lying flat may cause your blood pressure to dip, making you feel dizzy, breathless, nauseous, or queasy. And that’s the last thing you want to feel while pregnant. 

Try modified exercises that help maintain your blood flow and keep you and your baby snug and relaxed.

5. Full Inversions Where You Risk Falling

Full inversions or upside-down poses, like headstands and handstands, are a no-go during pregnancy. They’re risky, as you may tumble and hurt yourself and your baby. 

These poses put your head below your heart level, increasing your chances of feeling dizzy. They can also strain your abs and back muscles and might squish important blood vessels.

It’s best to avoid inversions and stick to poses that keep you stable and supported to protect yourself and your little one.

The Bottle Line: Yoga and Diet FTW

Prenatal yoga isn’t just about stretching. It can be a chill session with great health benefits for a mom-to-be. All you need is to tweak the yoga poses to make them baby friendly.  

If you practice yoga, tell your yoga teacher you’re expecting so they can help you make safe modifications. But if you’re new to yoga, join tailor-made yoga sessions designed for expecting moms.

Yoga combined with a nutritious diet can keep you feeling healthier and happier during pregnancy. Snack on juicy fruits, crunchy veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats to get the essential nutrients you and your baby need. And don’t forget to stay hydrated!

Get more scoop on healthy eating and crush those fitness goals with MyFitnessPal.

Originally posted 11/29/2017 | Updated 5/20/2024

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Roma Kunde

Roma Kunde is a freelance content writer with a biotechnology and medical background. She has completed her B. Tech in Biotechnology and certification in Clinical Research. She has 8 years of writing and editing experience in fields such as biomedical research, food/lifestyle, website content, marketing, and NGO services. She has written blog articles for websites related to medicine, construction chemicals, current affairs, marketing, and cosmetics.

Expert Reviewed By: Denise Hernandez, RD

Denise Hernandez is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biological and Physical Sciences from the University of Houston Downtown and completed her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Her areas of focus include adult and childhood weight management, women’s nutrition, and chronic disease management.

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