Why You Need to Make Sure You Are Practicing Yoga in Your Third Trimester
The joy of pregnancy comes hand in hand with tiredness, aches, and mood changes. Third trimester yoga is a great way to deal with these challenges and prepare yourself for delivery.
Benefits of Prenatal Yoga in Your Third Trimester
As you near your delivery date, you’ll likely have aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, and some anxiety- hello third trimester! This is the part of your pregnancy in which your baby starts to change position to get ready for birth.
Doing prenatal yoga in your third trimester is great for both your body and your mind. Prenatal yoga helps prepare your body for labour by opening up the hips and pelvis and keeping your muscles strong and flexible.
Yoga also involves deep breathing, which reducess stress and anxiety and relaxes the mind. Training yourself to breathe deeply is important for delivery.
How a Third Trimester Workout Can Help in Labour
Third trimester workouts offer many benefits that help labour go smoothly. Exercise during pregnancy helps to lower blood pressure, counteracts tiredness, improves sleep, helps with post-delivery recovery, and reduces risks that come with pregnancy and delivery.
Worried about starting a third trimester workout if you haven’t been active earlier in your pregnancy? It is safe and recommended to begin exercising gently in your third trimester, and here are a few ways to start.
10 Prenatal Yoga Stretches to Try in Your Third Trimester
Improving flexibility and strength with third trimester stretches is a great way to prepare for delivery. There are many techniques to train for childbirth. Here are 10 yoga poses to help you in the third trimester.
This pose is great for helping your baby move into an ideal position for delivery.
Get on your hands and knees, with your feet hip-width apart and your palms under the shoulders with fingers facing forward. Push your hands into the mat and focus on flattening your back while keeping your shoulders down. Imagine your tail bone extending towards the wall behind you, while your forehead extends forward, lengthening your spine.
By the time you reach your third trimester, your lower back is likely achy due to the extra weight you’re carrying. This is a great way to stretch your back and ease that pain. Start on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position.
Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, slowly round your back and tuck your chin toward your chest (cat). Next, breathe in as you gently arch your back downwards and look up (cow). Repeat this alternating cat and cow pose with the rhythm of your breath as many times as feels good.
This stretch relieves your lower back and takes pressure off your pelvic area. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet pressing into the ground.
With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips off the ground, focusing on rolling each part of your spine off the mat. You may press your hands into the ground to help you hold the pose while you take a few slow breaths. Gradually lower your hips back to the ground.
The more you can do to open your hips before childbirth, the better. This stretch is great for opening your hips and strengthening your legs. Stand with your legs wide apart, toes pointing outwards. Slowly bend your knees and let gravity pull your pelvic area downward.
Do what feels most comfortable with your arms, whether resting your hands on your thighs or pressing them together in a prayer pose. Bend as low as you can without your knees going over your toes and take a few deep breaths in this pose before slowly straightening your legs.
This pose mimics the position that many women give birth in, so it is great for preparing for childbirth. It is a deep squat that opens the hips and pelvic floor and stretches your thighs and groin. You may need to use a small stool or block for support in this pose if it is new for you.
Stand with your feet at least shoulder-width apart, toes rotated outward. Take a few breaths with your hands in prayer position, and slowly lower yourself into a squat. Keep your back as straight as possible. Rest your bottom on your support if you feel too much strain and hold the stretch for a few deep breaths.
If a full squat is too hard, this is a great alternative pose for stretching your inner thighs and groin. Sit on the ground with both legs stretched out in front of you. Draw one leg in so that your foot is close to your pelvis, then pull the other leg in so the soles of your feet are together.
Place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers pointing away, and push away from the ground. Lengthen your spine and rotate your shoulders back and down. At the same time, let gravity pull your knees closer to the ground while the soles of your feet stay together. Hold for a few deep breath cycles, then release your hands. Stretch your legs back out, one by one.
- Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
This pose engages your whole body, including your mind. Stand with your feet as wide as you need to feel balanced and stretch your arms out in front of you with palms facing down.
Take a breath, and as you exhale, slowly bend your knees and push your pelvis down as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair. As you bend down, slowly raise both arms upward. Shift your weight into your heels as you hold the sitting position. Try to hold for a couple of full breaths.
- Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
The third trimester is when your ankles and feet get the most swollen due to the extra fluid in your body. This pose helps blood flow back up to your heart and counteracts the swelling.
Put a blanket or cushion against a wall and position your bottom as close to the wall as possible so that it is supported by your prop. Extend your legs up against the wall, keeping them hip-distance apart. Relax in this position for several breaths.
This is a relaxation pose that stretches your hip muscles and back. Place a pile of pillows or cushions at the end of your mat. Start in a kneeling position with your toes together. Widen your knees as far as is comfortable, while keeping your toes together.
Gently lower your body towards your cushions, until your head and chest are resting on them. The cushions should support your head and chest at a high enough level to leave plenty of space for your belly. Keep your arms relaxed on the floor and breathe deeply.
This is a relaxation pose done lying on your side, which is also a great position during labour for relaxing between contractions.
Simply lie on your left side, with a pillow under your head. Bend your right knee and rest it on a pillow, while keeping the left leg extended. Breathe and enjoy this restorative position for several minutes. Do this pose at the end of your routine to rest and recharge.
Third Trimester Depression: How Yoga Can Prevent It
Are you feeling the third trimester blues? Studies show that yoga can prevent third trimester depression by improving both physical and mental health.
Practicing third trimester yoga promotes relaxation through mindfulness and breathing techniques that reduce anxiety. Holding poses while breathing deeply increases self-compassion and gratitude and the physical benefits help increase confidence going into labour. The benefits of yoga extend beyond your pregnancy.
Beyond the Third Trimester: Postnatal Yoga with the JoeyBand™
You can resume practicing yoga as soon as a few days following childbirth, and the JoeyBand™ allows you to do so while maintaining skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
Safely wrap your baby to yourself using your JoeyBand™ and practice some gentle yoga relaxation poses worry-free. This allows you to continue your self-care routine of breathing and relaxation while bonding with your baby.