Yoga in the Third Trimester


After a fairly energetic second trimester where I’ve felt strong, active and pretty light on my feet, the third trimester has well and truly come and whacked me in the face. Now at 30 weeks pregnant,  I feel utterly exhausted. Add to that the freezing weather and a hideous cold – and all I want to do is curl under a blanket and weep.

I don’t think I’m alone. The third trimester can feel really tough. There is still a good ten weeks to go, yet the body is now carrying an additional 6 to 10 kg and hormones have made the joints extremely flexible which for many women may have resulted in PGP,  lower back pain and hip pain.  All this baby growing is seriously tiring and there isn’t always time to take that recommended daily nap, especially if you are working full time or have other children to look after.

My advice is to try and stay active – walk, swim and as for your yoga practice, start practicing little and often. Roll out the mat for ten minutes every day. Make pregnancy yoga an essential part of preparing for the arrival of your baby.

So how should you adapt your practice? Well as ever, it starts with listening to the body and breath and giving yourself the practice that you need. And whilst energy levels may go up and down, the rule is generally to slow things down at this stage. Pranayama becomes more important than asana as you start to prepare for labour. The ability to really connect with the breath and use it to still the mind is essential for relaxation and pain relief. Practice golden thread breath daily – it can be a saviour in early labour. Hummingbird breath is also a great one for connecting with your baby who will no doubt love the sound and vibration.

As far as asana is concerned, leg strengthening postures (tree, warrior 2, extended side-angle) are still important as we prepare for active labour. First labours in particular can be long and you’ll need all that strength to stay on your feet and avoid having to labour lying down. Try taking utkatasana (chair pose) against the wall to work the legs in a safe and stable place.

All fours sequences will also feel great right now so stay with cat / cow, sweeping cats, hip circles on hands and knees and wide legged balasana (child’s pose).  This will take weight off the lower back if you are suffering any discomfort in that area. And don’t forget to keep working on opening the hips so try baddha konasana, wide legged seated stretches and pigeon pose.

And keep the face and jaw soft – essential for labour so start chanting it like a mantra now…

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