Breathe with Your Belly: 3 Yoga Exercises You Should Do If You’re Pregnant

Yoga is a great way to keep healthy that doesn't require any specialized equipment, and since it's low impact, it's a fantastic way for women that are quite pregnant to exercise. However, while there are a million guides to beginner yoga out there, you may have trouble differentiating between those exercises that would be good for you and those that would put undue stress on your body. If you're looking for a few exercises you can do safely while pregnant, then here's what you need to know.

Stretch Your Side

As you get more and more pregnant, it's easy to feel like your torso isn't going to have enough room to fit the baby in your last trimester. However, employing the side-stretch exercise can help alleviate those worries, as it opens up space on your side waist and helps to stretch out your hips.

To do the side stretch, sit down on the ground with your right leg straight and leading away from your body at a diagonal angle and fold your left leg in toward your body so that your left foot is pressing against the inside of your right thigh. Stretch your arms above your head and bend over toward your extended right leg. Hold this position for 15 seconds before slowly sitting back up. Repeat this five times per side a day to ensure your waist and hips are stretched and relaxed.

Become a Warrior

Strengthening your leg and hip muscles, this warrior pose is perfect if you're in your first or second trimester (if you're in your third trimester, it may feel too unsteady to be a good idea, so only attempt if you're comfortable with your balance and have adequate support around you).

To do this pose, stand with your legs slightly spread, with your right leg's toes pointing to the right while your left toes point straight in front of you. Then hold your arms out to the sides of you, parallel to the floor, and face to your right. You'll then proceed to the exercise itself; bend your right knee and lean forward on it, being careful to keep your arms up and your weight distributed between both legs. Hold this pose for thirty seconds, making sure to breathe during this time. Doing ten of these a day will build up strength and flexibility in your lower half in addition to stretching your sore hips.

Back It Up

If you have an inordinate amount of pain in your back from carrying around a beach ball under your shirt, it's a good idea to incorporate some yoga exercises that stretch and strengthen your back. A good exercise here is the cat pose.

Get on your hands and knees, ensuring that your knees are placed under your hips. Breathe in a normal breath, then slowly breathe out, arcing your back towards the ceiling to create a rounded shape. Doing this five times in a row is a good way to become aware of your breathing (which will be very helpful in labor) and to give your back the stretching and strengthening it will need in the months ahead of you.

For more information about exercise during pregnancy or to talk about what kind of exercise is appropriate for you individually, consult your obstetrics provider.