If you’re pregnant or have recently delivered your baby, pre and postnatal yoga can help your body in several ways. Browse through our simple yet detailed guide on antenatal and postpartum yoga poses to find the recommended ones for you. You will also find some essential safety tips and our answers to some FAQs on yoga after childbirth in the end.

Pre and Postnatal Yoga: Easing into a Fitness Routine Before & After Having a Baby

With a range of physical, mental and emotional changes, pregnant women have high instances of mood instability, fatigue, and body pain. However, Yoga can be a great tool to support the ongoing stream of changes during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

Whether you are pregnant wanting to maintain your overall health or aiming for easier labour, or a new mom wanting to get back in shape and conquer anxiety, many pre and postnatal yoga poses are sure to help you out.

Yoga & Its Benefits Before, During and After Pregnancy

Since working out regularly has numerous health benefits, the same applies to moms-to-be and new mommies interested in doing pre and postnatal yoga. Even though you may not feel like getting up and doing yoga at times (which is absolutely normal), remember that its benefits outweigh a few moments of relaxation in the long run.

Before Pregnancy

Since pregnancy demands a lot of physical and mental strength, yoga before conceiving a baby can help you in countless ways. After all, what could be better than preparing your body to carry a baby for nine months safely?

Some of the major benefits of doing yoga before pregnancy include:

  • Doing yoga before pregnancy prepares your body for the energy required for childbirth.
  • Furthermore, it is also related to increased fertility and boosting the chances of conceiving safely and easily.
  • Yoga before pregnancy also makes you emotionally more stable by reducing stress and anxiety thus preparing you for psychological and emotional challenges during and after pregnancy.
  • Most importantly, doing yoga before pregnancy helps increase the endurance and flexibility of muscles required for easy and uncomplicated childbirth.

Yogic Postures/Yogasanas

Women who are planning to have a baby or have problems conceiving can try the following Yogasanas to boost their fertility and prepare them for a comfortable pregnancy and healthy delivery.

1. Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

This yogic posture helps in stretching your spine and shoulders, making them more strengthened. It also helps in reducing stress and enhancing the diurnal cycle. By increasing blood flow to the uterus, this yogasana helps in increasing fertility.

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Uttana Shishosana

2. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

By reducing tension in your pelvic area, this yogic posture relieves fatigue, improves blood circulation inside the body, helps lower anxiety and boosts fertility.

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Viparita Karani

3. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Not just a great pose for fat loss around the abdominal muscles, the Cobra Pose is great in enhancing fertility too. This yogic pose prevents infertility, regulates body function and helps lower stress. It increases the blood circulation to the ovaries and uterus thus making pregnancy easier and healthier.

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Breathing Practices

1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Anulom Vilom)

Anulom Vilom Pranayam a is one of the best and the most popular types of breathing techniques you can do pre-pregnancy to promote physical as well as mental health benefits. This breathing practice gets rid of negative emotions, calms emotions, and helps in reducing depression. By making you more focused and patient, Anulom Vilom improves your overall sense of being and helps conceive easily.

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Anulom Vilom

2. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

Another alternate nostril breathing technique slightly different from Anulom Vilom, Nadi Shodhana is a beneficial yoga breathing technique that relaxes the mind and body by carrying a much larger supply of nourishing oxygen to the blood than regular breathing. This breathing practice balances the sides of the brain, soothes the nerves, and is effective in relaxing the mind. By improving cardiovascular function and respiratory endurance, it is proven to be great for women planning for a baby.

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Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

3. Kapalabhati Pranayama

The Kapalbhati Pranayama is one of the best breathing practices to combat infertility as it helps in regulating irregular periods, dissipates excessive heat from the body and removes harmful toxins from your body

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During Pregnancy

Many medical professionals are of the viewpoint that a physically active woman has shorter and easier labour as compared to a woman who was not so active during pregnancy. Although prenatal yoga poses are quite safe, please make sure to consult with your gynaecologist or midwife before starting any yoga routine.

Even if your doctor allows it, make sure to be not too hard on yourself and ensure your baby settles into her new routine gradually and comfortably.

Some of the major benefits of doing yoga during pregnancy include:

  • Doing yoga during pregnancy helps reduce back pain and reduce bloating or swelling.
  • It is also helpful in relieving constipation and preventing excess weight gain.
  • Yoga during pregnancy also helps you sleep better and have higher energy levels.
  • By reducing stress, yoga during pregnancy also prepares you for mental postpartum challenges and also keeps your mood stable.
  • Most importantly, yoga while being pregnant trains your muscles and endures them for safe childbirth and hastened recovery.

Yogic Postures/Yogasanas

Women who are planning to have a baby or have problems conceiving can try the following Yogasanas to boost their fertility and prepare them for a comfortable pregnancy and healthy delivery.

1. Garland Pose (Malasana)

The Garland Pose is a hip opener – and thus a very safe and effective yogic posture during pregnancy. Understand this pose as a deep squat with your feet positioned slightly wider than hip-width apart. This yogasana prepares your pelvis to open during labour and also helps in better digestion during pregnancy. The Garland Pose with side stretch and focused breathing is more effective in better flexibility and stress management.

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2. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

The Bound Angle Pose is another effective yogasana that you can perform during pregnancy. This easy pose is another hip opener that allows your body to deeply rest and get better back support. This yogic posture enhances a feeling of receptivity in the body while strengthening the pelvis, stretching inner thighs, groins, and knees, improving blood circulation and soothing nerves.

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Baddha Konasana

3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

The Triangle Pose is another great yogasana for all stages of pregnancy as it strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and encourages deep breathing. This yogasana creates length in the spine and helps in opening up your hamstrings aiding you during labour. In the beginning, modify this pose to ensure your legs are not positioned very apart.

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Breathing Practices


Pranayama is not just effective before pregnancy but a great breathing technique during pregnancy too. This breathing practice teaches you to breathe well, stabilize the cranial nervous system and stay calm. Pranayam for a pregnant lady not just helps in releasing endorphins or detoxifying the body but also teaches a woman to stay relaxed and focused during labour.

There are multiple types of pranayama for pregnant women that help them throughout their pregnancy and labour. Pranayama during pregnancy helps to expand your lung capacity, release stress, be more patient and learn emotional balance.

Some types of Pranayama highly safe and recommended during pregnancy include:

1. Three-Part Breath (Dirgha Pranayama)

The Three-Part Breath is a concentration practice focused on the complete breath by involving three stages of breathing correctly and efficiently. This breathing practise includes high breathing, mid-breathing and low breathing. It not only reduces stress and anxiety but also helps relieve insomnia and hypertension in pregnant women.

2. Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama)

The Bee Breath technique is another effective Pranayama breathing practice safe during pregnancy as it involves slow and deep breathing through both nostrils. Very effective in calming the mind, this breathing practice helps in getting rid of mood swings and stress during pregnancy.

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Bee Breath

3. The Cooling Breath (Sheetali Pranayama)

Last but not least, the Cooling Breath practice helps in cooling the body and prevent overheating during pregnancy. This Pranayama is believed to be effective in controlling emotions and relieving anger and anxiety.

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The Cooling Breath

After Pregnancy

Generally, women with an uncomplicated pregnancy and normal delivery can begin to do postnatal yoga a week after giving birth or as soon as they feel ready. However, if you have had a cesarean delivery or any complications, please talk to your doctor to determine a timeline to understand the right time to begin post pregnancy yoga. Generally, most women are advised to wait until six weeks after giving birth.

Some of the major benefits of doing yoga after childbirth include:

  • Postnatal yoga with a baby can fasten recovery and ease aches.
  • A postpartum yoga sequence helps build muscle strength and aid fat loss.
  • Postpartum yoga can also improve your mental wellbeing, thus helping in dealing with postpartum depression and difficulty in social interaction.
  • It also helps to raise your energy levels, restore hormonal balance and reduce fatigue.
  • Most importantly, postnatal yoga poses prevent low back pain and tone stretched abdominal muscles as well as loose ligaments and joints.

Yogic Postures/Yogasanas

1. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Balasana is one of the best postpartum yoga poses that new moms should do as it helps in strengthening the pelvic floor muscles that become weak during childbirth. This easy yogasana also helps in releasing neck and back pain as well as chest pain. By gently stretching the lower back and glutes, this yogic posture fastens postpartum recovery and is a stress reliever.

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2. Cow Pose (Bitilasana)

The Cow Pose is another highly recommended postnatal yoga asana that improves blood circulation in the spine, reduces back pain, promotes mental stability, and most importantly, helps new moms regain good posture and balance. Most nursing moms get hunched shoulders and neck pain by holding the baby. This pose is beneficial in combating it too.

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3. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Done in a standing position with feet about 8 inches apart, the Mountain Pose helps in toning the body and stimulating the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles for faster recovery. By improving blood circulation inside the body, this yogasana also helps in soothing stiff muscles, abdominal discomfort and reducing lower back pain.

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Breathing Practices

1. Ujjayi Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama)

Ujjayi Breathing helps in releasing stress throughout the body and balancing emotions which helps new moms manage postpartum stress and depression very well.

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Ujjayi Pranayama

2. Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika Pranayama is another impactful breathing yoga practice that new moms can do. This type of Pranayama is effective in toning the abdominal muscles, increasing the blood circulation in the body, draining excess phlegm from the lungs and improving the digestive process. By energizing the body and mind, Bhastrika Pranayama helps new mothers get better nutrition, sleep better, and recover faster.

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Bhastrika Pranayama

3. Mula Bandha

A very simple and effective breathing yoga technique that must be done by new moms after around six to eight weeks of delivery, Mula Bandha engages the pelvic floor and is highly effective in treating urinary incontinence after childbirth. This Pranayama technique is also helpful in relieving haemorrhoids and relaxing the mind.

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Mula Bandha

Safety Tips/Precautions for Pre and Postnatal Yoga to Make Your Pregnancy, Labour & New Mommy Routine Easier

Here are some important safety tips and precautionary measures you must keep in mind for doing yoga during and post-pregnancy.

  • Always discuss with your doctor before you start pre or postpartum yoga.
  • If you have never done yoga or exercising before, begin with walking in pregnancy and slowly integrate yoga during pregnancy – of course after the approval of your doctor
  • To stay extra-safe and to ensure you are doing it correctly to attain its benefits, always do pre or postnatal yoga under the guidance of a professional yoga trainer.
  • Do not push yourself beyond your limits even if you are very comfortable with the recommended yoga poses.
  • Stay hydrated, practice yoga in a well-ventilated room and avoid overheating your body.
  • Don’t overstretch or indulge in vigorous yoga poses.

Frequently Asked Questions about Postnatal Yoga with Baby

Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about pre and postnatal yoga poses.

What is pre and postnatal?

In pregnancy, prenatal refers to the time “before birth” and postnatal or postpartum refers to the time “after birth”. Sometimes, pre-natal is also called antenatal.

What is prenatal yoga?

Prenatal yoga is a safe routine and sequence of some specific yoga poses that encourage body stretching, improved flexibility, focused breathing and better mental fitness to prepare a pregnant woman for childbirth. Generally, these yoga poses are very mild and less strenuous.

When should you start prenatal yoga?

If you are used to doing yoga and have been active before pregnancy, you can start with a very mild yoga routine in the first trimester of your pregnancy – but of course, after consulting with your gynaecologist or midwife and under the guidance of a certified yoga trainer. However, if you have not been active or haven’t tried yoga, you should start prenatal yoga after about 14 weeks.

How soon after giving birth can you do yoga?

If you have undergone a normal vaginal delivery, you can start yoga after a week or a few days later when your body feels ready. However, if you have been through a c-section, you must talk to your doctor about the right timeline as per your recovery. Usually, women who have undergone a caesarean section can start a postpartum yoga sequence after six weeks.

What is pranayama?

By strengthening the connection between your mind and body, Pranayama enhances your mental health, sleep quality and immunity. Furthermore, this breathing technique teaches you to control your breath and helps in clearing energy blocks and releasing toxins from your body. Pranayama is a breathing science with over ten variations and techniques that collectively promotes mindfulness and stress relief, aiding in fertility and conceiving.

How does pranayama help in pregnancy?

Pranayam for a pregnant lady is helpful in innumerous ways as it teaches the woman to breathe well thus promoting proper blood circulation in the body. Pranayama for pregnant women is a deep breathing technique that must be done until the third trimester to keep the woman in a relaxed state of mind and prepare her for an anxiety-free childbirth experience. It also helps a woman inhale healthy oxygen and exhale the toxic carbon dioxide to ensure the baby’s overall health.

Are there styles of yoga that aren’t recommended for pregnant women?

Yes. Many strenuous yoga poses that include inversions, backbends, abdominal twists and intense stretches must be avoided during pregnancy. Such yoga postures can lead to instances of vaginal bleeding, decreased fetal movement and/or early contractions.

Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana), Full Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Standing Forward Bend or Forward Fold (Uttanasana), etc. are some popular yoga poses not recommended for pre or post pregnancy yoga routines.

The Key Takeaway

Pre and postnatal yoga is highly safe and actually recommended to make pregnancy and beyond healthier for moms (and for babies too). Whether you want to do prenatal or postpartum yoga, please begin with a qualified instructor to be extra safe. Focus on your breathing and work on your emotional stability and mental wellbeing as much as you do on your physical health.

Although the pre and postnatal journey may not be easy, it is undoubtedly worth it. Once your doctor approves, make the most of your time as a new mommy to work on your physical and mental fitness by engaging in yogic postures and breathing practices. Remember to take it slow but steady to see results. Not only you will recover faster but will also have better energy to deal with parenting challenges and spend quality time with your little one.