pregnant woman yoga

7 Yoga Postures to Avoid During Pregnancy (2023)

Traditionally, yoga is a low-intensity workout that helps shape your body and condition your skin. Besides other women, yoga is an excellent exercise for pregnant women. 

It can help them in many ways, including relieving muscle tension, reducing stress and anxiety, minimizing lower back pain, improving sleep, and strengthening the body for delivery.

However, not every yoga pose is safe for pregnant ladies, and many yoga teachers are unaware of it. Because your body is not the same during pregnancy, you must be careful about your actions.

For your and your growing baby’s safety, there are some yoga postures to avoid during. Because during pregnancy, the internal organs are squeezing to make room for your growing uterus, and postures that are not safe for your baby could do more damage than you could imagine.

This blog will help you know and understand what yoga postures to avoid during pregnancy.

Is It Safe to Practice Yoga While Pregnant?

yoga postures to avoid during pregnancy

Yes, practicing yoga is safe while pregnant, provided that you stay away from those poses that are risky and dangerous. If you already practice yoga, you will not have to give it up altogether. Many yoga poses are safe, and you can continue doing them even when you expect a little one.

Whether you are a practicing yogi or not, it is better to discuss your current condition with your yoga teacher and let her guide you. Certified yoga teachers know which poses are safe in different conditions, and pregnancy is no different. Work with her to create a suitable yoga schedule; it is better to practice with your teacher rather than going on your own.

Usually, starting any new workout routine when pregnant is something you must stay away from. If you are new to yoga, sticking to prenatal yoga classes will be your best option. These classes are designed for expectant mothers based on gentle and effective flows and postures. 

Types Of Yoga Postures You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Postures that involve stretching of muscles, bending, and twisting MUST be avoided when pregnant. These poses could harm your growing baby and may result in several birth complications. 

Here are some kinds of yoga postures that you should avoid when expecting a baby:

  • Abdominal Poses – These poses usually involve compression of the abdomen, which is not good in pregnancy. They can block blood flow to the baby and may also cause stretching of the ligament.
  • Deep Twists – Deep and Closed twists cause compression of the internal organs and constrict oxygen and blood flow to the baby. Try open twists instead, in which you twist away from the bent leg. Do consult your doctor before you begin with it.
  • Breathing Techniques – Stay away from breathing techniques that involve holding your breath for long periods of time. Moreover, avoid poses such as breath on fire and bellows breath that involve rapid belly movements.
  • Backbends – Backbends are a complete no-no during pregnancy. These poses involve stretching of the abdominal muscles and should be avoided completely, especially if you are in your second or third trimester.
  • Transitional Poses – These poses involve sun salutation in which the body moves forward and backward. These must be avoided during the first trimester as they could influence the embryo’s implantation.
  • Full Inversions – These poses include a shoulder stand and headstand, in which the head is pointed downward. Such poses may make pregnant women sick and nauseated. Moreover, they are risky and may cause injuries and falls.
  • Belly Down Poses – Lying flat on your abdomen is not safe during any trimester. These poses put pressure on the abdomen, which is risky and may cause complications.

Before you try any poses, it is better that you consult your doctor and a trained yoga teacher. If you want to begin with yoga, these two people are your best friends during pregnancy.

7 Yoga Poses To Avoid When Pregnant


Many yoga poses are safe during pregnancy but to be safe, there are some yoga poses that must be avoided. The risks are especially high during the third trimester. Therefore, be careful what you get involved in. 

Here are some yoga postures that you should avoid during pregnancy;

1. Half Lord of the Fishes

It is a seated twist pose that twists the spine and provides a therapeutic effect to the entire body. It squeezes the organs and helps improve digestion, posture, and spine. The whole upper body and hips are stretched, and get relief from tension in this deep twist.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Can compress the abdomen and uterus
  • Stress the growing fetus

2. Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is a breathing technique that involves rapid and quick inhalation and exhalation. The pose is designed to cleanse, detoxify, and produce energy in your body and in your mind. 

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Position of the diaphragm is higher than usual
  • The technique could hinder the supply of oxygen to the fetus

3. Full Wheel Pose

Full wheel pose is a full backbend, and it is not for people just starting with yoga. This pose is ideal for mid to advanced-level yoga practitioners and helps open up the chest and stretch the entire body.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Stresses the spine too much
  • Stretches the abdominal cavity excessively

4. Headstand Pose

The headstand pose is known as the king of all asanas. It involves balancing the body on the crown and strengthening the upper body, core, and spine. It also provides other benefits like enhancing the capacity of the lungs, boosting digestion, and stimulating internal organs.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • May make the expecting mother feel dizzy
  • High risk of falling and injury

5. Plow Pose

Also known as halasana, the plow pose is a full-body stretch in which your feet are positioned above your head. Besides relieving back, neck, and shoulder discomfort, it also strengthens your legs, arms, and shoulders. It also makes your spine more flexible and improves your posture.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Compresses the abdominal cavity and uterus
  • High risk of falling and injury

6. Cobra Pose

The cobra pose is a heart-opening pose that stretches the entire upper body and provides instant relief to back pain. It also increases flexibility and strengthens the arms and shoulders.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Puts too much pressure on the belly
  • Dangerous for fetus

7. Feathered Peacock Pose

It is an advanced yoga pose that helps improve the posture and circulation of lymph and veins. It boosts energy and helps get rid of tiredness and fatigue.

Reasons to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Exerts too much pressure on lumber lordosis
  • Instigates lower back pain

Yoga Poses To Avoid During The First Trimester

The embryo implants itself in the uterine lining in the first trimester. The growth of the fetus is maximum during this time, and intense yoga poses should be avoided.

Here are some yoga poses that you must avoid in the first trimester;

  • Boat Pose – It is a compression pose that strengthens the core muscles. This pose compresses the belly and the blood vessels, which is dangerous during the first trimester.
  • Half Prayer Twisting Pose – thigh and core muscles and improves spine’s mobility and flexibility. It puts pressure on the blood vessels in the abdomen that could restrict blood flow to the fetus. This could affect the fetus’ growth.
  • Half Moon Pose – This pose is great for improving posture and aligning the spine. This pose requires balance, and since it involves bending and twisting, it can cause fall and injury if the balance is incorrect.

Yoga Poses To Avoid During The Second Trimester

The fetus starts taking on the human form and looks in the second trimester. Your baby bump will be visible, and you may also experience back pain due to the growing uterus.

These poses should be avoided during this trimester:

  • Back Lying Pose – It relaxes the body, but lying on your back during the second trimester is not recommended.
  • Locust Pose – This pose strengthens the back muscles and improves the flexibility of the spine. This should be avoided during the second trimester because it involves lying on the belly. This could exert pressure on the Vena cava, the largest blood vessel, and hurt the baby.
  • Fish Pose – This is a full-body stretching pose that stretches the muscles of the neck and abdomen. Since the ligaments of the abdomen are stretched during this trimester, this pose could stretch them further, causing ligament pull.

Yoga Poses To Avoid During The Third Trimester

By now, the baby is ready to say hello to the world, which means you must be even more careful. While some yoga poses could prepare your body for birth, there are some that must be avoided altogether.

Here are some of such poses;

  • Hot Yoga – Also known as Bikram Yoga, has 26 characteristic yoga poses performed in 90 minutes in a hot and humid environment. Hot flashes are common during the third trimester, and hot yoga during pregnancy could leave you dehydrated.
  • Chair Pose – This pose tones the leg muscles and strengthens the ankles, hips, calves, and back. It stretches the upper body and should be avoided during the third trimester.
  • Seated Forward Fold – This pose stretches the lower back and conditions the pelvic and abdominal muscles. The upper body is stretched forward in this pose, which could overstretch the ligaments and compress the belly.

When Can I Resume My Yoga Practice After Pregnancy?

pregnant woman yoga

It is natural to feel the need to reconnect with your body soon after the baby has arrived, but jumping straight into your favorite yoga routine is something you must avoid. It can take a few weeks to a few months to return to your normal routine.

Talk to your doctor and listen to your body. Still, it is advised for postpartum women to avoid backbends because it could lead to Diastasis Recti. Give your body time to heal, and this time could be different for different women.

When starting again, go gentle and begin with gentle moves.

Bottom Line

Yoga is an ancient practice that involves stretching the entire body. It is a great workout that helps condition skin and muscles and prevents sagging. However, some poses could be potentially dangerous for pregnant women. 

These poses involve bending, twisting, and stretching the back and abdomen muscles, which is not good during pregnancy.

However, this also does not mean you cannot practice yoga during pregnancy. Talk to your trainer and build a customized yoga routine that involves gentle moves and postures.

Happy practicing!

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What kind of yoga is safe during pregnancy?

Prenatal, hatha, and restorative yoga are some kinds of yoga that are safe during pregnancy. Talk to your trainer and stay away from intense yoga poses.

Can I do inversions while pregnant?

No, you must avoid inversions during pregnancy. The risk is very high, and since both the pelvis and feet are above the heart in these poses, this could interfere with oxygen and blood flow.

Can I do squats while pregnant?

Yes, you can perform squats during pregnancy but make sure that you do it under your trainer’s supervision and with ample support.

Is Butterfly yoga safe in pregnancy?

Yes, the butterfly pose is safe for pregnant women. It helps open up the hips, groin, and pelvis that could become tight during pregnancy. It also helps with the lower back pain and circulation of blood.

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