Here are my five favorite yoga poses to prepare for birth. Well the truth is, I have lots of favorites and it was hard to choose as yoga is such a critical tool to prepare your body for birth. There are so many benefits to picking up a yoga practice in pregnancy like helping your mind and body to birth your baby. Building a yoga practice can help you with an unmedicated birth or a medicated birth. Not only does yoga help you prepare for birth but it also addresses the aches and pains many women experience during pregnancy.
I want to you to consider developing a yoga practice not so much as going to a 60 minute power or hot yoga class multiple times a week but more so doing 10-15 minutes daily of movement and stretches that help your body to feel supported throughout your pregnancy and help you to prepare for birth. Here are the big hitters when it comes to yoga poses that will help to prepare your body for giving birth.
Yogi Squat or any deep squat position helps to open up your hips and pelvic floor to prepare your body for birth. When you are in a deep squat position while pregnant, focus on relaxing your booty, inner thighs and pelvic floor muscles which is the group of muscles under your pelvis. When you give birth you will need to relax this group of muscle and breathe your baby down and out so this is a great position to practice that in while pregnant.
To find your yogi squat while standing bring your heels in and toes out a little bit wider than hip with a part. Sit down and relax your pelvic floor while creating a long spine. Bring your hands to your heart center in a prayer position and reach your heart towards your thumbs. Close your eyes and take some deep relaxing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Sigh out your exhale, like you a really saying “AWHHH..” and visualize your baby breathing and sliding out of your body.
This is such a great pose to do throughout your day while you are pregnant to prepare for birth. Another more gentle yoga pose that will open your hips, pelvis and pelvic floor to prepare for birth. I like this pose particularly because it is seated. To make it extra spicy, “rock your baby” or create some circles with your upper body in both directions slowly and gently. Close your eyes and imagine baby being rocked side to side as you wiggle and sway in that circular motion.
To find you Baddha Konasana, or “butterfly” pose, sit down on your mat or floor and bring the soles of your feet together to touch. Your knees will move out wide and you can bring your feet at a comfortable distance from your pelvis. Gently sway side to side or move your upper body in a circular motion and “rock your baby”.
Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold
Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold is a spicy one during pregnancy, and well not pregnant too lets be real. This posture really targets opening up the hamstrings which can get very tight in pregnancy and we want those muscles nice and long and relaxed for birth. This and the previous pose, baddha konasana go really well together. If you are going to do one, do the other one too!
To find your Seated Wide Legged Forward Fold, first find some pillows or blankets this will be really nice to have. Sit down on your yoga mat or carpet and extended your legs out wide in front of you. Place your pillows or blankets between your legs. Breathe in reach your arms up high and then breathe out fold forward towards your pillow pile. Leave a lot of space for baby and place your forward down on your pillow pile (or bolster as pictured here). The pillows or props will help your back and hips to relax into the pose which will create more depth and stretch for your body.
Oh yes, Goddess pose or otherwise known as “Horse pose” it has many names but lets use Goddess during pregnancy because this is a pose for a pregnant warrior goddess! I love this pose because it is so accessible and you can just pop into a quick goddess pose while waiting for your coffee in the morning or while brushing your teeth at night. I like to make it fun and dance a little bit or shake my hips, “twerk” as the cool kids call it or even slow dance with baby.
To get into Goddess pose while pregnant, step your feet out wider than hip width distance a part. Bring your heels in and toes out. Squat down so your hips stay above your knees. You are in Goddess pose! Lots of different fun variations you can do now. Bring your arms out or up, sway them around or bring your hands to your heart. Dance, play, shake your hips, twerk your booty or slow dance with baby.
Prone Frog is a great yoga pose to do while pregnant if it feels good and supportive for you. This deep squat really targets opening up and stretching your inner thighs and pelvic floor. Be sure to leave a lot of space for baby here and keep your tummy off of the ground. Stay high in your squat and let the focus really be in your pelvic floor and inner thighs. This may feel much different than your pre-pregnancy prone frog.
To get into prone frog while pregnant can be tricky to explain in text format so give me some grace here. I like to enter on all fours, so come down to your hands and knees. Slowly slide or walk your knees out wide while bringing your heels in and toes out. Flex your feet. Slowly inch your knees a part to where you feel a stretch but are still comfortable. If you’re feeling like you want to experience a deeper stretch and have the space for baby, come down to your forearms. Sit your pelvis back towards your heels as comfortable. Breathe and gently wiggle for a couple of breath cycles. Come out the same way you got into the pose. Slowly.
Ready to go deeper?
If you want to learn more about prenatal pelvic floor preparation for birth, check out my digital course called Prenatal Pelvic Floor Basics with a pelvic floor physical therapist. You can also do one of my yoga classes right now on my membership on demand class library, your first week is free check it out here.