Yoga Poses (Asanas) For The First Trimester

Yoga is one of the best forms of movement to practice during pregnancy. It’s relaxing, it helps you to prepare for labor, and it can help you to recover faster following your pregnancy.

Though most yoga studios will only accept students for prenatal yoga after 12 weeks of pregnancy, there are some poses that you can practice safely during the first trimester. The most important thing is to listen to your body, go into each pose slowly, and not put too much strain on your belly.

Read on for 6 of the best yoga poses to practice during the first trimester, as well as how to practice them, and tips for extra comfort.

1. Supported Supine Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Butterfly pose is wonderful for opening up the hips in preparation for labor. It can also help to relieve lower back pain, and by practicing this pose supine (laying down) it becomes wonderfully restorative.

As you progress through your pregnancy, laying on your back can create compression on the vena cava – making it harder for blood to be transported back to your heart. It’s generally advised that you don’t lay flat on your back from the second trimester, though it’s a great habit to start adopting early on!

Lay a large pillow or two on the ground – you could also stack a pillow at 45 degrees on top of 1-2 yoga blocks – so that you can lay back on an incline. Rest back onto the pillow, bringing the hands out to either side and the soles of the feet together – letting the knees fall wide. Close the eyes and relax here for 2-3 minutes.

If you would like to stay longer or feel that the stretch is too much, feel free to place a pillow or yoga block underneath each knee to relieve the tension a little.

2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II is one of the most popular pregnancy poses, and for great reason! It’s a soft hip opener that builds strength in the legs whilst being gentle on the core. It’s everything you need from a prenatal yoga pose.

Start by standing at the front of your mat and take a big step back with the right foot. Bend the front leg deeply so that the left knee is stacked over the ankle, and turn the back foot out to a 90-degree angle. Turn the torso towards the right and open the arms out in opposite directions. Look over the left fingertips and feel strong in the pose.

Stay here for 5-10 breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

If you would like a little more support, you can bring a large exercise ball or yoga ball between the thighs to sit on in Warrior II pose.

3. Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Crescent lunge is ideal for stretching the psoas muscle – the only muscle to connect the upper and lower body – and helping to relieve back pain.

Start by standing at the front of your mat. Take a big step back with your right foot, and lower the knee down to the ground. Stack the left knee over the ankle and reach high with the arms, looking up towards the fingertips if it feels good for your neck.

Stay here for 5-10 breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

If this causes you any pain in the knee, feel free to bring a small cushion underneath.

4. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana)

Tree pose is a meditative pose that allows us to open the hips and improve our focus – something that you’ll need lots of in your new life as a parent!

Start by standing tall and bringing all of your weight into the left leg. Bend the right knee and place the sole of the foot on the ankle (with the toes on the floor), the side of the calf, or the inner thigh of the left leg. Where you place your foot will depend on any pain that you have in the knees as well as your flexibility.

Choose a spot 1-2 meters in front of you that’s not moving to focus on and bring your hands to a prayer position at your heart center. Actively push the right knee away and behind you to stretch through the lower back.

Stay here for 5-10 breaths.

During pregnancy it’s best to practice tree pose next to a wall or chair that you can use for support – it’s normal to feel unexpectedly dizzy or nauseous during the first trimester.

5. Modified Plank (Phalakasana)

Practicing a modified plank pose during pregnancy is a gentle way to strengthen the core and back in preparation for the pregnancy itself, labor, and recovery after childbirth.

Come to all fours with the hands underneath the shoulders, pushing into the hands to get strong in the arms. Slide the knees back until there is a straight line between your knees and your shoulders – you want your hips to be in line with the rest of your body.

You can either keep your feet on the floor or bend at the knees to lift your feet towards the ceiling, crossing the ankles.

Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

6. Cat-Cow Pose (Bitilasana)

Cat-cow pose is wonderful to gently tone the abdominals and lower back, as well as nourishing the spine with a little movement.

Start on all fours with the wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips. Push into the hands to bring the shoulders away from the ears and feel the tops of the feet connecting with the mat.

Take an inhale to drop the belly, envision the chest pushing forwards, and gently look up and ahead. Do this movement to about 50% of what you would consider to be your maximum.

On an exhale untuck the tailbone, rounding up through the spine and the shoulders, before gently tucking the chin towards the chest. Do this movement to about 50% of what you would consider to be your maximum.

Repeat this movement for 3-5 rounds.

Now is the best time to start honoring your body – tune into what it needs and practice a little yoga every day for a healthy pregnancy.


Yoga Poses For the Second Trimester
Yoga Poses For The Third Trimester
A Beginners Guide To Prenatal Yoga