Pregnancy Yoga

Pregnancy Yoga

Assisting you through pregnancy, birth and beyond

How can pregnancy yoga nourish you?

Many women find that practising yoga during pregnancy helps them stay relaxed, fit and flexible, and research indicates it is a safe option[1] for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Working with a prenatal yoga instructor with specialised training in pregnancy and childbirth will best support you with suitable poses, breathing and relaxation techniques in addition to optimising lifestyle transitions.

Practicing yoga in pregnancy nourishes your body, mind and soul by improving circulation, minimising stress and relieving minor discomfort like back aches and oedema.

However, not all styles of yoga are suitable: some poses (asanas) may be too strenuous to be safe for mother and baby, and hot yoga should be avoided[2] due to a possible risk of hyperthermia. Any asana which involves lying on your belly, bending or twisting[3] in a way that puts pressure on your abdomen is also not recommended. 

If you have had strong yoga practice prior to pregnancy then continuing a modified practice during your first trimester may be fine as long as there has been no bleeding or spotting.  Do make sure to let your yoga teacher know you are pregnant. In most other cases it may be advisable to wait until the second trimester[4] before commencing.

Postnatal yoga can be a helpful way of supporting your recovery[5] from labour and birth as your body adjusts back into your non-pregnant state.  Postnatal yoga stretches and strengthens your body, gently assisting a gradual return to physical strength and encourages a soothing environment for babies to experience their own bodies alongside their mother’s bodies.

Instructors trained in yoga suitable for new mothers can recommend postures and techniques to help rebuild weakened abdominal muscles[6] and help you reconnect with your post-baby body. It is not recommended to practice a full yoga session until six weeks after a normal birth or eight weeks after a cesarean birth. As with pregnancy yoga, it is crucial to obtain the advice of your medical professional about undertaking yoga after giving birth

Benefits of pregnancy yoga

Randomised controlled trials consistently indicate that yoga is a more effective form of exercise[7] during pregnancy than walking or ‘standard’ prenatal exercises, and it can be safely practised by women at high risk or suffering from depression. There is evidence to suggest prenatal yoga significantly reduces women’s stress levels and improves immune function[8] during pregnancy. 

“Yoga-based interventions” are described as a “promising” alternative to medication[9] for pregnant women who are depressed, but more research is recommended. Stress during pregnancy has been associated with premature birth, developmental difficulties and other issues; practising yoga as a path towards reducing anxiety has been linked with a reduction in such problems[10].

There is evidence to suggest that prenatal yoga may reduce the duration of labour and the intensity of pain[11] experienced, and mindfulness-based yoga may have beneficial effects for pregnant women who have trouble sleeping[12].

Pregnancy yoga may assist in relieving symptoms related to:

Anxiety Back pain Balance, stability and coordination Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) Childbirth and labour Circulation and cardiovascular conditions Concentration, focus and problem solving Depression Energy and vitality Flexibility, endurance and strength Headaches and migraines Immunity issues Insomnia and sleep disorders Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps Pain relief Posture and spine issues Pregnancy, birth and antenatal support Relaxation Respiratory and breathing issues Stress and tension Vomiting and nausea Weight control and obesity Show all

What to expect from a pregnancy yoga session

SoulAdvisor is clear about the qualification levels we expect from practitioners working in the field of pregnancy yoga. Those who are listed on our site have further qualifications beyond their basic yoga training to diploma level.  All practitioners listed on SoulAdvisor have undergone a strict approval process to ensure you will be receiving the very best care available.

Yoga for pregnant women may take a variety of formats, depending on the stage of your pregnancy, your general health and fitness, and whether you have practised yoga before. A prenatal yoga session will often include breathing exercises (pranayamas), guided relaxation and meditation[13]. Gentle stretches and ‘low-intensity’ Hatha poses are also included, some of which might be modified to minimise any potential risk. 

A popular feature of pregnancy yoga is the use of props such as straps, bolsters and blankets[14] to provide additional support and make the poses easier to perform. Studios with dedicated pregnancy yoga sessions also encourage fostering a community spirit among mums-to-be, as well as helping you bond with your baby[15].

As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your midwife, doula, obstetrician or other medical professional before commencing pregnancy yoga. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or other health issue, or any concerns at all, discuss these with your pregnancy yoga instructor, who will be happy to address these and advise you on how the session can be adjusted to suit your individual requirements. 


  1. Safety of Yoga in Pregnancy | Obstetrics & Gynecology
  2. Prenatal Yoga | American Pregnancy Association
  3. Prenatal yoga: What you need to know |
  4. About prenatal yoga | Younga Yoga Studio
  5. Postpartum Yoga: Health Benefits and Safety Considerations | WebMd
  6. Yoga For Your Post-Pregnancy Body | Mother Nurture Yoga
  7. Effects of Yoga Intervention during Pregnancy | American Journal of Perinatology
  8. Effects of prenatal yoga on women’s stress and immune function across pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial | ScienceDirect
  9. A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of yoga-based interventions for maternal depression during pregnancy | ScienceDirect
  10. Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free |
  11. Research Summaries for Normal Birth | The Journal of Perinatal Education
  12. Effects of Mindful Yoga on Sleep in Pregnant Women | Biological Research for Nursing
  13. Prenatal Yoga Poses for Each Trimester |
  14. Pregnancy yoga: how to use yoga props to get comfy |
  15. Benefits of Pregnancy Yoga |


Frequently asked questions

Yes, research indicates that practicing yoga during pregnancy is generally safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. It is essential to work with a prenatal yoga instructor with specialized training to ensure the practice is suitable.

Yoga during pregnancy provides various benefits, including improved circulation, stress reduction, and relief from common discomforts such as backaches and edema. It also promotes overall well-being for the body, mind, and soul.

When choosing a prenatal yoga instructor, look for someone with specialized training in pregnancy and childbirth. This ensures they can provide suitable poses, breathing techniques, and relaxation practices tailored to the unique needs of pregnant women

Certain yoga poses may need to be modified or avoided during pregnancy to ensure safety. A qualified prenatal yoga instructor can guide you on suitable poses and modifications based on the stage of pregnancy and individual needs.

Yes, prenatal yoga is known to help alleviate common pregnancy discomforts such as backaches and edema. The practice focuses on gentle movements, stretching, and relaxation techniques that can contribute to overall comfort.

It's generally safe to start prenatal yoga at any point during pregnancy, provided there are no complications. However, many women find it beneficial to begin during the first trimester or as soon as they feel comfortable, and continue throughout their pregnancy for maximum benefits.
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