Below is a guide of Yoga Precautions and Contraindications during Pregnancy.
This is not an exhaustive list, please seek the guidance of a trained and experience prenatal yoga teacher under the guidance of your healthcare provider.
Prenatal Yoga Precaution and Contraindications
Breath retention and/or strong, forced breathing
Reason: Affects oxygen to the fetus
Yoga Movement or Pose: Kapalabhati breathing/breath of fire
What to do instead: Alternate nostril breathing
Advanced poses the challenge and build heat
Reason: Stress to the mother and fetus, overheating
Yoga Movement or Pose: Any poses that are vigorous and/or new to the pregnant practitioner
What to do instead: Stay within your edge. Pay attention to your breath. If your breathing feels shallow and labored, you have gone too far.
Poses that engage and/or stretch the rectus abdomens muscles
Reason: Can cause stretching and/or tearing of abdominal muscles
Yoga Movement or Pose: Supine leg lifts, boat pose, plank pose, chaturanga, crow pose
What to do instead: Side lying poses
Reason: Can over stretch abdominal muscles
Yoga Movement or Pose: Camel, wheel, upward facing dog
What to do instead: Gentle backbends from the upper back, neck and shoulders
Reason: Decreases blood flow to the uterus, can cause dizziness. Lack of stability in the abdominal cavity can result in injury
Yoga Movement or Pose: Headstand, handstand, shoulder stand
What to do instead: Supported legs up the wall
Prone poses (on belly)
Reason: Uncomfortable, not advised for safety of baby
Yoga Movement or Pose: Cobra, bow, sphinx
What to do instead: Tabletop, cat/cow
Reason: Too much pressure on abdominal cavity
Yoga Movement or Pose: Revolved triangle, revolved side angle, seated closed twist
What to do instead: Modified open twist
Reason: Overheating can cause miscarriage and/or birth defects
Yoga Movement or Pose: Bikram, Moksha
What to do instead: Prenatal Yoga
Other helpful hints and tips:
- Move slower through your practice
- Pay attention to your breath
- Use props (blocks, bolsters, straps, pillows, and blankets)
- Take hip width or wider stances
- Reduce the width of feet in wide legged stances
- Take breaks as needed – child’s pose or comfortable seat
- Drink lots of water
- Listen to your body!!!
Acknowledgement: This list was adapted from MamaNurture Contradiction Yoga During Pregnancy.