What Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy?

Yoga Poses To Avoid During Pregnancy

Should I avoid yoga during pregnancy? Am I allowed to drink this or eat that? What should I do if….? Do this, don’t do that. It can be frustrating. To be honest, THERE ARE some things you must avoid while being pregnant, but yoga is not one of them. You must keep in mind that there are yoga poses to avoid during your pregnancy, but there are those you can do just as well as before being pregnant.

In case you are pregnant, and you have never done any kind of exercise but you want to start now, yoga is your cup of tea. You should consider it, especially if it alleviates you of anxiety and stress. You need to know that yoga is absolutely beneficial in your pregnancy. 

There are few enemies of the pregnancy condition like moodiness, shortness of breaths, and swollen ankles, and according to Fitzgerald and some prenatal teachers, yoga can ease these discomforts if done correctly. 

Whether you are just a beginner in the yoga world or experienced yogi, there’s something for everyone. Both groups need to practice yoga very carefully in the first trimester. 

How Do I Know Which Yoga Poses To Avoid During My Pregnancy?

Enid Guthrie, a childbirth educator at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said that she had seen women with ruptured membranes because of doing inappropriate yoga poses. She said she never let her pregnant yoga students make intense twists, sit-ups, inversions, and a downward-facing dog and shoulder stand. She also noted that many women make mistakes thinking that yoga is a gentle activity. She advised newly pregnant women not to do yoga without a teacher because it can be dangerous for them and their babies. She argued that when dealing with pregnant women, you need to bear in mind that you are not dealing with a normal body.                                                  

Dr. Green also said that yoga is good, but it needs to be modified differently in every stage of pregnancy. Another doctor, Dr.Pesce, said:

‘If you are doing something and it hurts you should not be doing it any more’. 

But, don’t give up just yet because there are modifications to all your favorite yoga positions.

If you decided to participate in yoga while being pregnant, here are some suggestions on how to deal with it.

Revolved Side Angle Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Revolved Side Angle Pose

In this pose, you need to bring your hip and shoulders the twist towards the left side by bending the left knee. Place the left foot forward and the right foot behind, stretch along with arms in front of you. It is apparent only from the description that you shouldn’t do this one in your first trimester. 

Remember that you have a little being growing in your belly, so it wouldn’t be good to twist along the midline because it can cramp the baby’s space. 

Instead, you can simply modify by opening up to one side.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: Safe Twists

Instead, you can simply modify by opening up to one side. When you do any kind of twisting while pregnant, you need to pay attention that your movements are focused above the belly and the upper rib area. This kind of pose can be a huge relief for a mom. Instead of doing a revolved side angle, you can do a supported side angle. Do this one by using your bottom arm for support instead of putting your palm to the ground. This can be very helpful because it opens your chest more.

Full wheel pose

Full Wheel Pose

This pose is not the one to avoid during your pregnancy, but only if you’re accustomed to it. If you know what you are doing, you can keep practicing this pose as long as it feels comfortable. But, if you are new at this, don’t try it now. Keep in mind that every pregnancy is different, and this is not the time to push yourself to the limits.

Modification: Upward Plank Pose or Bridge Pose

Bridge pose is the best option for you if you must avoid Full heel pose while being pregnant. There is also an option of an Upward plank, which is an excellent substitute for Full heel, but only if you feel comfortable while doing it. There will be days when you will be able to do it easily, but there will also be the ones when you don’t. Remember: don’t push it!

Bow Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Belly Down Poses

Each and every yoga pose that causes pressure to your lower abdomen should be avoided. Never mind if it’s early pregnancy, yet it can still cause damage. You can still practice Sphinx Pose, and Cobra Pose in the first trimester, but you should avoid it after that.

Modification: Camel Pose, Upward Facing Dog Pose

This pose will help you to get in a heart-opening stretch and work the back. If you still don’t feel comfortable, you can put your hands on your lower back for support. You can also do an Upward dog pose if it feels OK, but if it doesn’t, and you feel uncomfortable, you should try Cow pose instead. By doing this pose, your pelvic area is more mobile.

Corpse Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Prone Yoga Poses

Savasana or Corpse Pose is one of those poses you need to avoid during your second trimester. It can look easy, but it is considered to be the most challenging pose. It is done by relaxing one muscle at a time, one body part at a time, and one thought at a time. It seems that you are just lying there, but it is not that simple. Some yoga students find it very hard to lay in this position.

According to experts, this pose can make you dizzy because it restricts blood flow to your heart and your baby, but only if you are four or more months pregnant. 

Modification: Instead of doing regular Savasana, lay on your side, and put a blanket between your knees.

Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Lord Of The Fishes Pose

This pose is a must when we talk about avoiding postures while being pregnant. It is complicated and demands some serious twisting. It is done by placing one foot flat on the floor outside the opposite leg, and your torso twists toward the top leg. It is easily understood that someone with a bump in front of them should not turn this way.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: Revolved Easy Pose / Easy Seated Twist

It can relieve the tension in your back, and it is safe. All you need to do is sit on the floor with legs crossed. In case you feel uncomfortable, sit on the blanket to raise your hips. Place your right hand flat on the floor behind you and your left hand on your knee. As you inhale, elongate your spine. Move deeper into the twist as you exhale and look over your right shoulder. Do the twist this kind only while it feels comfortable.

chaturanga to upward facing dog

Chatarunga To Upward Facing Dog Poses

This pose is OK until you reach late pregnancy. In this pose, you need to keep your pelvis high, but when your stomach grows, it can prevent it.

Modification: Chatarunga to an upward facing dog on blocks

In this case, blocks will prevent your belly from hitting the floor. If your weight is to heavy to support, you can come down on your knees. There will be a time when you won’t be able to stretch to an Upward dog, so in that case, you can come down to a Downward dog from a standing position.



Any kind of crunches compress your stomach, and it’s not good. As time goes by, you will see that it became impossible to do any type of crunches since your abdominals are getting pulled apart by your uterus. However, this does not mean that you need to skip some most essential yoga poses. It is necessary to have a strong core because it helps you with your back pain and delivery later.

Modification:  Sunbird Pose and Plank

It is of huge importance to modify your plank. If you notice that your stomach is touching the ground or you start to feel uncomfortable, put your knees down to make it easier. If you see that you cannot do this correctly, it is advised to skip it. 

Dancer Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Dancer Pose

Extend your standing leg, grab the inner arch of your foot with your thumb pointing away from you. You need to lean forward and reach forward with your free arm. So this poses extends not only your back but also your front body, and your baby is doing a pretty good job doing the same. So, it would be best to avoid this pose during your pregnancy. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: One Legged Mountain Pose

You can skip Dancer’s pose, but if you don’t want to adjust it to your possibilities, then. Doing a One-legged mountain pose, you need to shift your weight to one foot and ground down firmly. Then you need to bring up your opposite leg keeping it straight. The leg you lifted needs to be parallel to the floor.

Lizard Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Lizard Pose

This pose opens up your hips. Depending on your flexibility, it can be pretty stressful for your hips. You need to pay attention to your body limits, especially if you are in your late pregnancy. When doing this pose, you must watch your breathing, and if you see any kind of block or pause while breathing, stop it immediately. Instead, try to make some modifications.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: Half Splits Pose 

You can always do half splits or doing a Lizard pose by using some blankets or blocks. 

Locust Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Locust Pose

Since you need to do this pose lying on your back, it is the one you should avoid during pregnancy. This pose strengthens your back, spine, and buttocks, so you might consider doing something similar. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: you can try this pose doing it on your knees. If your weight is a problem, then put some pillows under your bottom. So put your knees and your hand on the floor, raise your head, and take deep breaths. Then, lift your right leg, hold it for a few seconds, then change. 

Headstand Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Inversion Poses

These poses may cause nausea and giddiness. You will gain some weight during pregnancy, and it will become pretty much impossible to maintain your center of gravity. If you do some of these poses in your second trimester, it can make you dizzy, and you may even lose your balance, which can be fatal for your unborn child. Some of these poses are Headstand or Shoulder. As far as the modification goes, there are none. You just need to avoid this kind of exercise during your pregnancy. 

Complete Boat Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Heated Yoga Poses

There are also some other kinds of yoga that you need to avoid during your pregnancy, such as Hot Yoga. Since you are in a pregnant mode, you can easily overheat, and your body won’t regulate your temperature. Of course, it means that your baby is going to overheat too. This can affect your baby’s development badly.

Other types of yoga practices that you need to avoid while being pregnant are breath retention and heated pranayamas. By doing these kinds of yoga, you risk getting dizzy and limiting airflow to your baby.

Modification: instead of doing any kind of heated yoga, you can try Ocean breath or deep belly breathing. This kind of yoga helps you during labor too.

Handstand Pose or Downward Facing Tree Pose

Handstand Pose

This pose requires you to stand upside down. Balancing yourself on the head might be tricky even if you are not pregnant. Here, you are in great danger of falling, so I wouldn’t recommend this pose during your pregnancy.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Modification: Legs Up To The Wall Pose

Besides the fact that it feels amazing, this pose will shift your nervous system to a calm zone. It also helps reducing swelling in your ankles and feet. 

Child Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Child Pose

This is a pose for beginners, and it is usually done when relaxing between exercises. It gently stretches your hips, ankles, and back.

This pose is great to release the tension in your lower back and relax. As your stomach becomes bigger, you will do this pose by opening your knees wider to create more space. You can use a blanket to rest your body to keep your body off the floor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Garland Pose (front) - Iana Varshavska

Garland Pose

This term is used for different squatting positions. You need to keep your feet together and your back rounded with multiple hand variations. Your palms need to be folded together in front of the chest. 

If your hips are too tight, you can use a rolled blanket and place it underneath your heels to make it more comfortable, or you can just sit on the block.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To conclude

There is something you should always have in mind – pregnancy is not a disease. You will not be pregnant forever, and if you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy, not many things are out of reach. You know that you will not be able to do things as before, but there are always ways to do them anyway. All you need to do is listen to your body and enjoy your pregnancy. 

You must bear in mind that every pregnancy and every woman is unique. When we think of yoga, we must know that yoga is not just physical exercise. It is mediation, breath work, a healthy lifestyle. So you should not avoid it while pregnant, just make a few modifications to it and listen to your body. It will tell you if things get out of hand. Trust it!

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings. After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva. To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics. Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga. At the moment, Iana continues to work on her personal practice, improving her hand balancing skills, as well as developing her own training programs.

Leave a Reply

go to blog

More Blog Posts

Stay Tuned

Subscribe to our newsletter and find out first about new and important news