5 Safe Yoga Poses for the 2nd Trimester

The second trimester, a.k.a. the “Golden Trimester” is from the 13th to the 26th week of gestation.

This is the favorite stage for many mamas as you begin feeling better, having more energy and gaining back your appetite (if you have lost it due to morning sickness). Mamas begin to “look pregnant” as your bodies begin to change and belly (and baby) starts to grow.

This is also when excited couples and mothers-to-be will normally share the news with friends and family as the pregnancy is more established by this stage.

Physical and Emotional Changes

As the body begins to make space for baby, many women begin to experience soreness in the lower back, abdomen, groin and thighs. You might experience swelling in the hands and feet, leg cramps, skin changes, light headedness or congestion due to an increase in blood supply.

The hormonal system undergoes many changes to support mom and baby throughout pregnancy and labor and delivery. These changes may affect your mood, emotions, sexuality and energy levels.

5 Yoga Poses for the 2nd Trimester

During this stage it is very beneficial to do yoga poses which focus on building strength, balance, lengthening the side bodies and opening the shoulders, hips and pelvis.

                 1. Cat/Cow

Cow Pose

Cat Pose

How to:

  • Come onto hands and knees, shoulders over the wrists and fingers facing forward.
  • Inhale into Cow pose – tilt the pelvis forward, engage your transverse abdominals (imagine “hugging onto baby”) and bring the gaze forward.
  • Exhale into Cat pose – tuck the tailbone, round the spine, chin towards the chest and crown of the head to the floor.
  • Do 4-5 rounds moving the body with the inhales and exhales.

Benefits: Relieves back pain, stretches the spine, helps with round ligament pain, and teaches about some movements of the pelvis which can be useful in labor and delivery.

2. Mountain Pose

How to:

  • Stand with feet hip width apart or wider, toes facing forward, arms relaxed by the side of the body.
  • Ground down firmly through the feet but keep the knees soft.
  • “Hug onto baby”, reach up through the chest, let the shoulders relax down and away from the ears and reach up through the crown of the head.
  • Hold for 4-5 breaths.

Benefits: Strengthens the body, improves balance and relieves backache. Use this pose to check in with your posture and bring the body back into alignment as your center of gravity shifts and changes throughout pregnancy.

3. Warrior I

How to:

  • Begin with feet hip width apart or wider, toes facing forward.
  • Step one foot back 3-4 feet, lower the heel and turn back toes out about 45 degrees.
  • Bring both hips to face forward, arms relaxed by the sides of the body.
  • Bend the front knee and bring the arms up along the ears, shoulders relaxed.
  • Lift the ribs away from the hips to lengthen and create space in the side bodies.
  • Hold for 4-5 breaths.

Benefits: Standing poses energize while building strength and stamina. This poses also opens chest and shoulders and creates a nice stretch through the calfs, for any mamas suffering from night calf cramps.

4. Butterfly

How to:

  • Begin sitting with legs out in front of you. Place a folded up blanket under you to elevate the hips if this is uncomfortable.
  • Bring the soles of the feet together as you let the knees fall out to the sides.
  • Bring the heels of the feet towards the body as you let your hips open and relax.
  • Hold onto your ankles or interlace your hands around your feet.
  • Hold for 4-5 breaths.

Benefits: Increases mobility in the hips and pelvic joints, stretches the inner thighs and increases blood circulation into the pelvic region.

5. Legs up the Wall

How to:

  • Face the wall and lay down on your back (propping your head and chest above the pelvis on blankets or bolsters if you are past your 4th month).
  • Scoot your bottom as close to the wall as you can.
  • Slide your legs up the wall so that the back of the legs rest comfortably.
  • Let your arms rest on the ground, away from the body, palms facing up.
  • Close your eyes, breath and stay here for as long as you want.
  • To come out, bend the knees, press the feet into the wall and roll onto your left side before slowly pushing yourself up to a seated position.

Benefits: This position works with the lymphatic system, draining water and releasing toxins. It is wonderful if you are suffering from edema (water retention in the feet). It also helps to release pressure on the SI joints.

The second trimester is the perfect time to start your prenatal yoga practice. Yoga will not only help you with the aches and pains of your changing body but will help you become aware of your body and breath which will be so beneficial to you throughout labor and delivery!

Watch my beginner-friendly, prenatal yoga class if you want to practice these poses with me.

Happy practicing mama!