HomeHealth articlesyoga asanas to avoid during pregnancyWhat Are the Yoga Poses Contraindicated in Pregnancy?

Yoga can be done in various forms. However, there are certain yoga poses to be avoided during pregnancy, and the article briefly discusses them.

Written by

Dr. P. Saranya

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At June 1, 2023
Reviewed AtJune 1, 2023


Does yoga suit all people? Indeed, it does. Yoga is fantastic for the body and psyche of a person. Yet not every asana is appropriate for every person. Before starting any yoga or exercise routine, it is crucial to consider the age, health, and degree of fitness. There are contraindications for each asana and each pranayama. A exercise including in yoga is contraindicated due to certain health issue or circumstance that raises the risk of physical injury from a particular asana or pranayama. Lower back pain, asthma, hypertension, and pregnancy are a few examples. Difficult asanas should not be practiced by pregnant ladies. During pregnancy, it is typically not the advised to perform advanced core-strengthening exercises, inversions, supine poses, intense backbends, poses that compress the abdomen, or extremely twisting postures. Yet expecting mothers do not require to give up yoga entirely. Several asanas can be performed safely in each trimester.

Is Yoga Safe During Pregnancy?

Women do not have to completely give up their yoga practice if they already have one if they become pregnant. While it will be safe to continue with certain poses, it could be necessary to change or eliminate others. Informing the instructor what one is expecting is a good idea. Generally speaking, beginning a new workout regimen while pregnant is usually not a good idea. Prenatal yoga courses are the best bet if one has little or no familiarity with or has never practiced it.

What Are the Yoga Asanas to Avoid During Pregnancy?

Yoga positions can be performed safely while expecting. For instance, a study indicated that none of the 26 yoga poses assessed caused fetal discomfort.

Some yoga postures should be avoided during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, for safety reasons. The following are some yoga poses that should be avoided (or at least modified) during pregnancy:

  • Half Lord of the Fishes Position (Ardha Matsyendrasana): Twisting poses, especially those that twist the abdomen, can constrict the uterus and strain the fetus. Twisting poses should only be performed very gently from the shoulders during the second trimester and should be avoided altogether during the third trimester.

  • Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana): The first yoga pose women should avoid when pregnant is chaturanga dandasana. Naturally, chaturanga involves a quick fall and a heel step. In this case, there could be a problem if the belly alignment is improper. It would be advisable to avoid this action altogether as it can endanger the infant. A plank or lower chaturanga would be preferable as an alternative.

  • Kapalabhati: As the position of the diaphragm is higher than normal during pregnancy, pranayama may exert higher oxygen demands of both the body and the fetus. Any pranayama (breathing exercise) that includes breath retention or rapid and forceful inhalation or expiration should be avoided. Instead, concentrate on deep, slow breathing.

  • Complete Wheel Pose (Chakrasana): Overstretches the abdominal region and strains the spine. This pose should never be practiced during the third trimester.

  • Headstand Position (Sirsasana): Hatha yoga's Sirsasana, often known as a headstand, is an advanced-level inverted pose. In this yoga, the body is flipped upside down and supported by the top of the head and both forearms on the floor. This precarious inversion makes falling more likely and it should be avoided during pregnancy.

  • Handstand Pose (Adho Mukha Vrksasana): High risk of falling.

  • Crow Pose (Kakasana): Balancing in this inversion posture is difficult, and a growing belly might shift the center of gravity and make it more likely to trip and fall.

  • Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana): Twist deeply to both sides and ground the back heel. The pose is very flexible and challenging. It tests flexibility, strength, balance, and mental focus. Moreover, it compresses the muscles on the opposing side while stretching the muscles on the opposite side. Since this yoga pose tightens the abdominal area and twists the spine, this should be avoided.

  • Shoulder Stand Pose (Sarvangasana): In this yoga position, the entire body is supported by the shoulders. It is also a step in the yoga sequence known as Padma Sadhana. "Sarv" stands for everything, "anga" is a physical portion, and "asana" is a position. Sarvangasana, as its name suggests, affects how every organ in the body works. This pose, often known as the "Queen of asanas," is very helpful in preserving both physical and emotional health. Performing this pose may compress the uterus and abdominal cavities during pregnancy.

  • Plow Pose (Halasana): The plow, a classic farming instrument frequently used in Indian agriculture to prepare the soil for sowing crops, is the source of the name of this yoga posture. Like its namesake, this stance primes the body and mind for profound regeneration. Avoid doing this pose during pregnancy since it may compress the uterus and abdominal cavity.

  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): The name "Dhanurasana" refers to the bow-like shape that the body acquires when practicing it. Bows are called dhanus, and poses are called asanas. A well-stretched body aids in maintaining flexibility and excellent posture. Avoid doing this pose after the first trimester since it puts too much pressure on the tummy.

  • Feathered Peacock Pose (Pincha Mayurasana): It is an advanced level balance position known as Pincha Mayurasana. The entire body weight is supported by the forearms. The key to maintaining the pose is maintaining balance, which is enhanced by practicing this asana. In addition to this, it causes the core muscles to tone and the forearms to become stronger. This is another inversion pose to avoid. Moreover, it makes the lumbar lordosis in the spine more pronounced, which might make low back pain during pregnancy worse.

  • Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana): If the tummy gets too big, pregnant women will not be able to complete any forward bending until they adjust the pose by separating the legs wide.

  • Cobra Position (Bhujangasana): Because it resembles a cobra with its hood up, Bhujangasana is also known as Cobra Pose in English. In this Hatha yoga pose, the upper body is bent backward while the participant is lying on their stomach. It is also one of the legendary Suryanamaskar salutations. After the first trimester of pregnancy, this pose puts too much pressure on the abdomen.

  • Tree Pose (Vrikshasana): This stance mimics the ethereal steadiness of a tree. The tree pose, in contrast to other yoga poses, necessitates keeping the eyes open to maintain the body equilibrium. During pregnancy in order to maintain balance, it is advisable to hold onto something or avoid doing it.

Avoid any pose that requires excessive stretching, especially those that stretch the hips or groin, if you are prone to prolapse. Numerous other yoga poses put too much strain on the tummy, back, or hips during pregnancy, but the list above should serve as a solid starting point for instances of such poses.


Even if a certain woman might be eager to start the yoga practice, if they are pregnant, it is crucial to take the necessary safety measures. Certain yoga poses are safe to practice while pregnant if previously practiced regularly. However, if new to yoga, it is recommended to be cautious and put the yoga courses on hold until after giving birth. It is always better to ask the doctor for advice if unsure about which yoga poses one may and cannot do while pregnant.

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Dr. P. Saranya
Dr. P. Saranya


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