A woman’s body steps into a whirlwind of mental and physical changes when she enters into pregnancy. And it is at this delicate stage where she has to also deal with excessive weight gain, morning sickness and constipation.

Engaging in some light physical activity is a great way to keep all these problems in check, unless your doctors advise otherwise.

Here are some yoga postures that will prepare your body for birthing, keep that weight in check, and help you find mind-body balance:

The First Trimester
This period allows for plenty of standing asanas which can really enhance the blood circulation in the body, reduce cramping, strengthen your legs and of course, fuel high energy levels that speed your metabolism. Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose is one such exercise you should consider.
Step 1: Step your right foot forward (a big step), almost to create a lunge position. Make sure your knees and toes line up, leg should create a 90-degree angle. Back foot flat on the floor, knee pushed back, leg tight.
Step 2: Bring your arms up over your head, and keep your palms together in a namaskar position.
Step 3: Keep your gaze up at your thumbs. Breathe deeply in and out through your nose for five counts; Release and repeat on the other side.

The Second Trimester
Here’s where it gets a little tricky as the joints in the body start to loosen, preparing the body for further growth of the baby and delivery. Looser joints means the body is at a higher risk of injury; making sprains and strains quite common. In addition, one’s center of gravity shifts due to weight gain, making balancing postures difficult. It is advised to use support of walls or chairs at this point. Back bending, twisting poses causing abdominal stress, and lying on the belly should all be strictly avoided. Try the Prasarita Padottanasana or Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose for some light stretching and toning.
Step 1: Sidestep your right foot about four feet away, or as far as comfortable. Arms up and active, facing parallel to the floor.
Step 2: Place the hands on your waist and slowly lower your upper body, till your placing your palms on the ground. If you find this difficult, use the wall or a gym ball for assistance.
Step 3: Hold for five breaths and slowly come back up, spine straight. Keep the knees soft.

The Third Trimester
It is best not to do any asana lying flat on your back at this time, because your tummy area would’ve grown considerably. All the bending must be done from the hips, not the waist. Ardha Titali Asana or Half Butterfly is a wonderful way to loosen the hip and knee joints, enabling smoother delivery as you inch closer to your due date.
Step 1: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out.
Step 2: Bring the right leg in a half lotus position by bending the right leg, and bringing the right foot up as high as possible on your left thigh.
Step 3: Place your left hand over your right toes, and place your right hand gently over your right knee.
Step 4: Inhale and lift the right knee up to your chest.
Step 5: Exhale and gently push the right knee down, attempting to touch the floor. The trunk of the body should not move, if you feel any strain, move slower. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Light workouts in the prenatal stage are usually not harmful for you or the baby, but always remember to consult your doctor before indulging in any form of exercise during your pregnancy.

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read other Pregnancy & Babycare stories here.

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Nisha Gulati is a fitness expert and model originally hailing from New Jersey, USA. She is a certified Bikram Hot Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa Instructor, health and fitness columnist for Hyderabad’s widely read B Positive Magazine, a trained Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Bhangra, and giddha dancer. She also has trained in Kalaripayattu a martial arts form in Kerala. Yoga has been a source of great discipline, inspiration and positivity for Nisha who has been teaching at studios in Mumbai India, Phuket Thailand, Marina Dubai and Vancouver Canada.