As mothers-to-be move into the final trimester there are many yogic practices that they can do to help prepare for these few months and their upcoming labor.
The final trimester is a wonderful time to really delve into self-care as so much has changed in the pregnant woman’s body and the thought of labor and delivery getting closer can be overwhelming.
This is a time when the body is starting to feel more aches and pains due to baby growing more, a good night’s sleep becomes harder to come by due to having to wake up to make multiple trips to the bathroom through the night, and anxiety about being prepared for baby’s arrival starts to set in.
Here are a few practices that can keep all of this in check and create more peace and calm within.
Peaceful Yoga Techniques for Expecting Mothers
Being a mother myself and teaching prenatal yoga, my two favorite breathing exercises for this time are the Breath of Fire and a full-body scan that unites breath and body.
Let’s explore how to do each exercise:
- Breath of Fire – Sitting in a comfortable seated position, draw your hands to your belly, set a soft gentle gaze or close your eyes, draw a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale in pulses through your mouth until you run out of air. Repeat 3-5 times
- On a side note, I like to bring the hands to the belly in order to feel the pulsing movement from the diaphragm.
- Full Body Scan – Laying down or sitting with your legs extended in staff pose, close your eyes, or set a soft gentle gaze and begin to draw a deep breath in through your nose while envisioning your breath flowing up your body from the tips of your toes to the crown of your head. Hold the breath at the top for a few seconds and slowly exhale while envisioning your breath flowing down your body from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. This can be done as many times as you like and for as long as you like as it is a very gentle, nurturing and grounding breathing exercise.
- Partner Poses – Doing yoga with a friend, partner, spouse, or family member is a wonderful way for expectant moms in their last trimester to go deeper into the poses and connect with the loved one they are doing the poses with.
The following are some of my favorites in the final trimester
Standing face to face and clasping hands, the pregnant momma can squat down as far as feels best and hold as long as they prefer while the supporting partner continues to hold their hands and help maintain stability.
Deep Back Stretch
As the back tends to feel the most tension during this time in pregnancy, it is so important to stretch it out as much as possible.
This pose can be done by reaching out to a wall, chair, or person. However, when possible, doing this with someone else it is a great way to connect.
Standing face to face, press your palms into each other’s and walk back until both parties are able to fold forward with heads even with the spine and the gaze looking down, keeping a straight line along the spine.
To add additional resistance, feel free to press into each other’s palms. Hold for 3-5 breaths
Partner Back Bends and Forward Folds
These can be done standing or seated and offer another wonderful way to open the back while also expanding through the chest.
Standing or sitting with backs to each other, interlace arms.
When ready, one person will fold forward causing the other person to bend back.
This can be held as long as both feel comfortable, and it is important to communicate with each other how it is feeling – especially for the mom to be.
Keep doing this as long as both parties prefer.
Due to the fact that Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor, they are one of the most important exercises to do throughout pregnancy and especially in the final trimester in order to prepare for labor.
The beauty of these exercises is that they can be done anywhere while seated or standing.
I’ve heard many theories over the years for how many should be done each day, ranging from 10-100 and have come to the conclusion that the number doesn’t matter as long as you are able to fit them in at some point on a regular basis.
There are two main methods I recommend for Kegels.
Standing or seated, draw the pelvic floor muscles in – these are the muscles that you hold when you need to go to the bathroom and are not able to - and either hold for a count of ten and release or utilize the elevator method.
The elevator method is a wonderful visual aid that involves drawing in the pelvic muscles a little bit, holding, drawing in a little more, holding, drawing in a little more, holding and then releasing in the same fashion. In this method, it is as if you are going up and down and elevator, pausing at each floor.
Creating a self-care routine through breathing exercises, partner yoga poses, and Kegels as well as setting aside time for other practices such as reading, journaling, taking a bath, and spending time with loved ones allows a more positive, grounding experience to evolve through this time and carry into the future after baby arrives.
Setting aside time to take care of themselves as much as possible during this time in pregnancy is so important for physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Remembering to foster love for self and baby will set the foundation for future success.