Yoga exercises for pregnant women - woman performing various asanas.

Pregnancy Yoga – Yoga exercises for expectant mothers

Those who practise yoga regularly benefit from its health advantages and relaxing effect. Especially during pregnancy, yoga can help improve self-awareness, create mental balance, and provide healthy regular downtime. Yoga is very popular and enjoyed by many pregnant women. In this article, you will find a lot of information about pregnancy yoga and some gentle yoga exercises for pregnant women to try.

Pregnancy yoga - woman sitting in yoga position on a mat.

Table of contents

  • Advantages of Pregnancy Yoga

  • Yoga during Pregnancy

  • Yoga Exercises for Pregnant Women

Ben­e­fits of Preg­nan­cy Yoga

Yoga can be a beneficial and gentle workout during pregnancy, keeping you fit and giving you inner peace. The gentle exercises help you to relax and prepare for the changes ahead.

In addition, yoga during pregnancy can have other positive influences on you and your baby:

  • Gentle yoga reduces the likelihood of premature birth.

  • Regular yoga can promote better sleep in pregnant women

  • Back pain can be reduced through pregnancy yoga.

  • Focusing on proper breathing during yoga can help pregnant women during childbirth.

Yoga for preg­nant women: What you need to look out for

To enjoy all these benefits, you should only practice calm styles of yoga with gentle exercises and meditations. To avoid overexerting yourself during pregnancy, it is important to listen to yourself and your body and only go as far as it feels good for you. During pregnancy, you need to train gently because your tendons and ligaments are now softer to give your body the necessary space for the changes. To avoid overstretching or injuring yourself, only do the exercises at 60 % of your normal level. Pillows and blankets can make the exercises more comfortable.

Many midwives and doctors recommend some gentle yoga during pregnancy. The exercises below are gentle, yet many poses will help you with specific tensions during your pregnancy. You should only do these exercises in consultation with your midwife or doctor to give you and your baby the best possible individual support.


Did you know that..

Yoga schools and midwives offer pregnancy yoga courses. You will find professional advice and the course leaders can support you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. If you are not sure which pregnancy workouts are suitable for your stage, talk to your midwife or doctor about the individual exercises.


Yoga ex­er­cis­es for preg­nant women

The following exercises are very calm and relaxing. You can do them as an experienced yogi or as a newcomer after consulting your doctor or midwife. Listen carefully to your body and practice only as intensely as you feel comfortable with. The asanas should not be overly demanding but should relax and help you.


Did you know that..

To make sure that you and your child feel completely comfortable during yoga in pregnancy and that you are not restricted in your movements, you should always wear maternity sportswear. They give you the freedom of movement you need, and the breathable fabrics mean you won’t sweat as easily.


Pregnancy yoga - woman performs a short mediation.

Pregnancy Yoga exercise 1: Short meditation

This short breathing exercise introduces you to your yoga session. You can do it seated cross-legged or standing. When standing, be careful not to make a hollow back. To avoid this, you can first let your pelvis rotate a little and find a relaxed position.

  • Place your left hand on your heart and your right hand on your belly.

  • Breathe calmly and deeply into your belly and scan your body from head to toe. Notice how you feel and let your breath flow calmly. If you discover any tension during your journey through your body, try to actively let go of it and relax that part of your body.

  • When you are completely at peace with yourself and your baby, you can move on to the next asana.

Pregnancy yoga - pregnant woman performs a side stretch.

Pregnancy Yoga exercise 2: The side stretch

During pregnancy, the extra weight puts strain on your back, ribs, and chest. In everyday life, we hardly stretch our upper body muscles, which can cause extra tension. This exercise will help you open your chest and stretch your sides.

  • Sit comfortably on your mat and spread your legs as far apart as is comfortable.

  • Bring your right heel back to your thigh or the centre of your body while your left leg remains straight, then point your toes towards your body.

  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and, as you inhale, bring your right arm straight up towards the sky. Depending on how limber and flexible you are, you can lean further towards your extended leg.

  • Stretch your right side and breathe in and out calmly for 5 breaths. Repeat the exercise for the other side.

Pregnancy yoga - woman performing diagonal bipedal stand.

Pregnancy Yoga exercise 3: Diagonal bipedal stand

This yoga exercise for pregnant women helps you to gently stretch your back to keep it relaxed. Your back needs to be very strong during pregnancy to carry the extra weight of your baby.

  • Support yourself on your knees and hands, with your knees positioned just below your hips and your hands under your shoulders. Keep your fingers spread wide.

  • Stretch your left arm forward and feel the stretch all the way to your fingertips.

  • Slowly stretch your right leg backwards and find your balance. Proceed slowly and very gently.

  • Hold the position for a few breaths before doing it for the other side. With each inhale stretch a little more and as you exhale focus on your back.

Yoga pregnant woman - woman sitting cross-legged with arms outstretched.

Pregnancy Yoga exercise 4: “Release” exercise

This asana can prepare you for labour and the process of birth. The breathing technique is also taught in antenatal classes. It strengthens your will and stamina as well as your focus on what is important.

  • Sit cross-legged and relax your back and shoulders.

  • Now stretch your arms out to the sides, hold your hands at shoulder height and pay attention to your breathing

  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth as if you were blowing up a balloon. You can also make sounds like Oh or Uh.

  • Try to hold the position for a minute and stay relaxed. Pay special attention to keeping your shoulders relaxed. Also, pay attention to your jaw because we tend to tense it when we exert ourselves.

  • When your arms become heavy, fully concentrate on your breathing, and try to let go. Build this exercise into your week and you will find that it gets easier and easier, and you will last longer. Your mind and body will be well prepared for the birth.


Did you know that..

As the positive effects of yoga have been extensively proven, some health insurance companies subsidise courses. Check with your health provider to find out which pregnancy yoga classes might be subsidised.


Yoga in pregnancy - pregnant women in Savasana.

Pregnancy Yoga exercise 5: Savasana

As with every classic yoga session, you should perform a final relaxation, also called Savasana, at the end. This exercise allows you to calm down and empty your mind from your thoughts.

From the 24th week of pregnancy at the latest, you should no longer lie on your back, because the weight of your baby can hamper your circulation. Savasana should be done on your side:

  • Lie down on your side on your soft yoga mat.

  • Place a cushion or your arm bent under your head so that your neck is not overstretched and your back forms a single line.

  • You can place a rolled-up blanket or nursing pillow between your legs to stabilise your body and relax your hips.

  • Close your eyes and breathe naturally and relaxed. Mentally walk along your entire body again. You can tense different muscles briefly and then consciously relax them. If you like, you can listen to gentle music.


Yoga during pregnancy is beneficial for you and your baby. Regular gentle yoga exercises for pregnant women provide regular relaxation and inner peace. In addition, yoga sessions can help prepare you for the changes during pregnancy and make the birth easier.


Bear in mind that...

Dynamic yoga for fitness should only be practised after pregnancy. These styles of yoga are too strenuous for your body during pregnancy.


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