I’m 26 weeks pregnant now, which puts me close to the end of my second trimester. I’m not even really sure how that happened! The first trimester seemed to go at a snails’ pace—everything seemed so fragile and there were so many unknowns to be worried about. But after I started to feel this baby squirm around a bit, well, I stopped worrying so much and I allowed myself to start daydreaming about what life will be like with two sweet little girls (BTW, it’s a GIRL! Hooray!).
The second trimester has been all about making space—space in my home (time to clean out ALL the closets), space in my budget (I’ve taken on some extra work to get ready for having a new mouth to feed), space in my body (not that I have a choice), and, of course, space in my life (I’m going to need to start figuring out how to manage caring for two little ones, my work commitments, AND myself, too!).
I’ve also made plenty of room for daydreaming, feeling excited, and just plain being amazed about the miracle taking place right inside my own body right now. I mean, come on, I have TWO hearts beating inside of my body right now—you’ve got to admit that’s some pretty cool shit. These bodies of ours—they are freaking amazing!
My yoga practice has been a little less consistent than I’d like these days since my 4-year-old isn’t in preschool during the summer and, well, life! But I’m loving every second I find myself on my mat practicing and teaching prenatal yoga to mamas who are going through so many similar experiences as me. It’s a beautiful thing! Here are some my favorite yoga poses for the second trimester—I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
Yoga Poses for the Second Trimester: Prenatal Yoga to Make Space
Cat Pose + Cow Pose
Before I describe these poses, let me just say there’s no time when these animal names for poses are LESS appropriate than during pregnancy. I mean, you’re expanding in every direction and your yoga teacher tells you to practice is Cow Pose every day? Ummm.. Was Whale Pose taken or something?
Seriously, though, Cat and Cow really are good poses to warm up your spine, open your chest, and apparently being in the all-fours position is a great way to get baby into an optimal position within the womb, too. (Something I’ve been really paying attention to since my 20-week ultrasound revealed my little one was breach in there.)
How to do it: Come onto your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked directly over your wrists and hips directly over your knees. Inhale, lift the crown of your head and broaden your collarbones. Exhale, round the back, feel your shoulder blades spread apart, and look in toward that growing belly of yours.
Wag Your Tail + Get Freaky Pose
After a few rounds of regular Cat/Cow, I like to get a little freaky with it (as I’ve heard one of my favorite bloggers, Yoga with Adrienne, describe it). I wag my “tail” from side to side to feel my side body lengthen (which feels like it gives baby girl a bit more room). Then, I’ll spend some time rolling my ribcage around in big, slow circles, which helps me to get into any nooks and crannies that might be stuck.
From hands and knees, start to walk your hands forward, forward, forward until you can rest your forehead on the floor. If you have a lot of flexibility in your shoulders you might even be able to drop your chest (or your chin) to the floor, too. This is a great shoulder and chest opener and, again, it makes a lot of space in the torso. Feel free to wag your tail a little bit here, too, if it feels good.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Awe. Your Puppy Pose is growing up! It happens so fast, doesn’t it?
Walk your hands back underneath your shoulders, tuck your toes under, and lift your hips up and back. Wait! Keep your knees bent for a bit and really imagine your femur bones pressing back toward the wall behind you. I like to imagine my spine as a string of pearls—my goal is to make as much space between each pearl as possible. THEN, if you can keep without compromising that long spine, you can start to straighten your knees and bring your heels toward the floor.
Warrior 2 and Reverse Warrior (Virabhadrasana 2)
Standing poses are SO important for all phases of pregnancy, but they are among the best yoga poses for the second trimester when your energy is typically a little higher. Of course, they help to strengthen the legs, but they also can strengthen the pelvic floor (which, for obvious reasons, is pretty important for giving birth and recovering from birth). Even more importantly, holding a standing pose for just a couple breaths longer than is comfortable can help you see that you’re stronger and more capable than you thought, which can mentally prepare you for the challenges of giving birth.
Come into Warrior 2 by stepping one foot forward between your hands (or, if you’re further along, it might be more comfortable to step to the outside of your hands to leave plenty of room for your belly!). Ground your back heel, and then brace yourself on your front thigh as you come to standing. Inhale, reach your arms wide. Exhale, flip the front palm up toward the ceiling and begin to arc back. Let your back hand go down the back leg. Feel the space you’re creating in your side body (Are you noticing a trend yet?). Then, moving with your breath, flow between the Warrior 2 and Reverse Warrior a couple of times before you switch sides.
(BONUS POSE: When I’m feeling extra energetic, I also add in an Extended Side Angle Pose with my front arm resting on my front thigh and my hand on my belly. It’s nice to check in with the baby from time to time, too.)
Triangle Pose with the Top Arm Extended overhead (Trikonasana)
A traditional Triangle Pose, if practiced with optimal alignment, is a good way to create more space in the body all on its own. But when you reach that top arm overhead, palm facing the floor, you might find a BIG stretch from the back heel up to your hips and all the way to the top fingertips. This, my friends, is what freedom feels like.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
It might be true that many women have the most energy during their second trimester, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need lots of rest, too. After all, even when we’re not doing a damn thing, our bodies are working hard at both supporting and building a tiny human.
Take that in for just a second.
If you’ve been putting a lot of pressure on yourself to get tons of things done this trimester while you still feel like it (guilty!), remember to cut yourself some slack, too. Be kind to yourself. Every day is different during pregnancy and some days more energy is going toward growing a person. On those days, you might skip all the active standing poses altogether and focus on giving yourself the rest and relaxation you need.
On those days, Reclining Bound Angle Pose is a perfect choice. Not only is it extremely restful, it gently starts to prepare your body for the opening it’s going to be doing soon so you can bring that baby of yours into the world. Here’s how to prop yourself up for restorative poses so you aren’t lying flat on your back.
Savasana. Lots and lots of Savasana.
Rest. Recharge. Repeat.
What are you favorite poses for the second trimester of pregnancy? Comment below and let me know—I promise to try them out before I make it to my third trimester!