We’re back with part 3 of our prenatal yoga series. In the first part, we talked about the benefits of practicing yoga when pregnant. In part 2, we covered a few yoga poses women can do in the first trimester of their pregnancy. This time, we’re moving on to the second trimester and yoga poses that are appropriate. Unlike in the first trimester where morning sickness, fatigue, and cramps were dominant, you’ll have more energy in the second trimester. However, you do need to limit the time spent on your back and modify poses to make way for your growing belly. These 5 poses will help keep you strong and centered in the second trimester.
The warrior pose II is a standing exercise that strengthens the ankles and legs, which is just what you need as your belly becomes heavier. It also opens the hips and groin and improves balance. In addition, it builds confidence and energizes the entire body. Hold the pose for about 30 seconds and gradually increase it to a minute at a time. If you have trouble balancing yourself, place your bent leg against a chair for support.
The side leg raise is a great exercise for strengthening the lower body. It works the pelvic floor muscles and the hamstrings and helps circulate blood to these areas. It also improves the flexibility of the legs. If you can’t balance well, place your arms flat on the mat instead of against your head. You can use a wall to place your raised leg against too. You can also use a strap to straighten your raised leg. Remember to listen to your body when doing the exercise and release the pose if you feel pain.
Child’s pose stretches the hips, thighs, and back and reduces fatigue. It’s a resting pose and is a good way to de-stress and relax. It also teaches you to focus on your breathing, which is helpful when you undergo contractions later in your pregnancy. In order to accommodate your growing belly, spread the thighs wider as you lower your forehead to the floor. You can place a thick rolled blanket between the back of your thighs and calves if you find it difficult to sit on your heels.
Like the warrior pose, the chair pose is a great way to strengthen the legs and hips. It also works the back and arms. It’s a simple enough exercise in the first trimester of pregnancy but it gets more challenging in the second trimester. The hormone relaxin loosens the ligaments while the extra weight you’re carrying can make balancing difficult. You can modify the pose by bringing your arms in front of you and asking a partner to hold your hands. You can also hold on to a sturdy chair.
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Hero’s pose is just the thing you need to relieve tired legs during pregnancy. It strengthens the muscles of the thighs and reduces conditions that tend to develop when pregnant such as acid reflux. It also exercises the pelvic muscles to prepare you for labor. If your ankles or knees hurt when in this pose, place a rolled up blanket or a towel beneath them. You can also place a yoga block beneath the buttocks if you can’t sit on your ankles.
As your pregnancy progresses, it’s increasingly important to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Get regular massages to help you relax and ease body ache. Plan a trip – this is the best time to travel! Sleep on your side and place a pillow between your knees and under your stomach to take the pressure off your lower back. Use a good mattress as well. Your body needs proper support otherwise you won’t be able to sleep and will develop arches.
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The second trimester is believed to be the best period of pregnancy so make the most of it! Keep yourself strong and balanced with yoga. Always remember not to overstrain yourself and to listen to your body. If at any time you feel pain or discomfort, stop. Speak to your doctor before doing these poses and share concerns you have with any of the ones we’ve mentioned here. In part 4 of our prenatal yoga series, we’ll be covering more poses you can do in your third trimester so stay tuned!