A Pinch Of Thoughts

Practicing Yoga At Home During The Third Trimester

Congratulations mommies!! You have reached the final furlong- the Third Trimester. Albeit a period of mixed emotions- anxiety of being a first-time parent, excitement to hold your bundle of joy, a confusion or let us say stirring emotion that your pregnancy is coming to an end. So, a perfect time to practice yoga at home and ground yourself and prepare yourself for the delivery.

Before we get on to the mat, for all those who have being practicing yoga at home, it is time that you once again consult with your physician. In this phase, your tummy is growing bigger, so obviously, you cannot do most of your favourite poses that you have been practicing. It is also vital that you check your and your baby’s health before trying out the set of yoga asanas mentioned below. However, certain poses can be done in moderation without putting too much pressure on the belly. Also, by now i.e., the 28th week onwards, some babies begin to move in the “head down direction” while some take several weeks; somewhere around 33rd to 36th week. In some cases, the babies do not manage to get into this position; instead, they have their feet in the downward position- “the breech babies”. Here, it is said that yoga is beneficial for such situations.

Apart from these, certain things to keep in mind:

  • By the time you reach towards the end of your term, you might feel an increase in the pelvic pressure as the baby gets into the position. This might cause sharp pains in the bladder. Make sure that you talk to your doctor about the changes you experience towards the end of your term.
  • Some mothers experience swelling in the hands and feet which can cause a lot of discomfort.
  • Some pregnant women also suffer from CTS (carpel tunnel syndrome).

Practicing yoga helps reduce the discomfort caused due to the above-mentioned conditions.

However, the veterans who have been practicing yoga for a while now, you clearly know your body by now and you know what’s best for you. However, a bit of caution is advisable.

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Before getting to the asanas for practicing yoga at home, I would like to list down few benefits of practicing yoga during the third trimester:

  • Yoga asanas greatly help in exercising the muscles and improves flexibility which helps during the labour and recovery as well.
  • Practicing breathing exercises during the third trimester becomes easier as the baby drops into position for birth, and this gives more space around the diaphragm. Also, breathing exercises soothes your nerves and is beneficial to the baby as it ensures good oxygen supply to the baby. Remember, your baby relies on that oxygen as well.
  • It elevates lower back pain, headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • It is known to improve the sleep quality.
  • It improves strength and stamina by strengthening your back, hip, arms, and shoulders.

However, you need to be cautious that-

  • You do not strain your muscles while practicing the asanas. Pay attention to the limitations of your body and respect it. Do not try to push too hard.
  • Avoid any kind of twists that could decrease the amount of blood flow to your baby.
  • Avoid poses that require you lie flat on your back. This could compress the major blood vessels and disrupt the flow of blood.
  • You must totally avoid any inverted postures that could move your baby away from the birthing position.
  • Avoid poses that require a great amount of balance. As your belly is now heavier, your body balance tends to be slightly off. Avoid balancing postures reduces the risk of you falling. If you still want to, then make sure that you use proper support. This is definitely not the time to challenge yourself.

Moving on to the asanas you could try while practicing yoga at home:

1. MARJAARYASANA AND BITILASANA (CAT-COW)

To learn how to do the pose in the third trimester, click here. At least do it 5 times.

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Benefits:

  • Strengthens your core.
  • Releases any kind of tension and pain in the lower back.
  • Helps prepare your body for labour.

2. SETHUBANDASANA (Bridge Pose)

To learn how to do the pose in the third trimester, click here.

Benefits:

  • It helps open up hips.
  • Strengthens your core, glutes and hamstrings.

3. BHARMANASANA (Tabletop Pose)

This pose when done on elbow with slight “hammock rock” is the best variation you could try during your third trimester.

To learn how to do the asana, click here.

Benefits:

  • It removes pressure from the wrists for people who suffer from carpel tunnel syndrome or people with sensitive wrists.
  • The “hammock rocks” can be very soothing for your baby.
  • This pose also alleviates lower back pressure.
  • This pose also helps your baby to settle in the correct position.

4. BALASANA (Child’s Pose)

It is better if you perform this pose with the help of a bolster.

To learn how to do the asana, click here.

Benefits:

  • It helps to stretch your sides.
  • It releases lower back tensions.
  • Improves hip mobility.

5. MALASANA (Garland Pose)

This is basically a squat pose, also known as the yogi squat. If you are unable to sit fully, you could use yoga blocks to do this pose comfortably so that you strain yourself.

To learn how to do the pose, click here.

Benefits:

  • It is a great hip opener and is a great pose to help during labour.
  • It helps in strengthening the pelvic floor.
  • *if you find out that your baby is in the breech position, it is best to avoid practising this pose.

6. UTKATA KONASANA (Goddess Pose)

If at all you find the pose challenging, you could gently rock side to side in order to cope with it.

To learn how to do this asana, click here.

Benefits:

  • This again is a great hip opener.
  • It strengthens the leg muscles and relaxes the pelvic muscles. Too much strengthening of the pelvic muscles or floor could make those muscles tense and that could lead to difficulty during the time of labour. Hence this asana is great to relax the pelvic muscles.
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7. BADHKONASANA (Butterfly Pose)

This pose is also known as the cobbler’s Pose. This pose is best done towards the end of the practice. if you are unable to keep the back straight, sit on a folded blanket and also place folded blankets under your knees if you are unable to bear the stretch.

To learn how to do the asana, click here.

Benefits:

  • It helps stretch the inner thigh muscles.
  • It is also a great pose to relax the pelvic muscles.
  • It is a great pose to relax and calm your mind.

8. SHAVASANA (Corpse Pose)

Here, it is best to avoid the classical Shavasana pose where one lies on the back. You might need to modify this pose and lie on your side. Lying on the back for prolonged periods could cause a great deal of discomfort during the third trimester. It also reduces the blood flow to the baby.

To learn how to get into this pose and its modified versions, click here.

Benefits:

  • It relaxes your body after your yoga practice.
  • Certain other asanas that you could also try are:
  • ANJENAYASANA (Low Lunge) with support of blocks which is a great hip opener.
  • VIPRITA KARANI (Legs up the wall) while resting your back on a bolster.
  • UTTHAN PRISTASANA (Lizard Pose) with support of blocks.

Remember, as you have reached the end of your term, your body will have its limitations. Do not push yourself too hard. It is time to slow down, try some breathing exercises and await your baby’s arrival. Yes, please try and do those breathing exercises while practicing yoga at home; because once your baby arrives trust me you will barely get time to relax. To make best use of the time that you have now. Stay safe! Stay Strong! And God bless…..

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