First Trimester Yoga + Movement

Jan 05, 2021

Honoring how you feel each day during pregnancy can be challenging, especially in the first trimester. But slowing down and becoming aware of the changes happening in your body can be incredibly beneficial at the beginning of your pregnancy.

To be honest, I didn’t feel like moving at all during most of the first trimester this time around! Between the intense exhaustion and nausea, I struggled to feel like myself.

So what can you do to feel your best? Here are my recommendations:


1. Breath work - Always start with the breath. Your breath is a tangible tool that you can use throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and parenthood. Learn how your breath can support you when you need it most.

Practice straw exhalations to tone the transverse abdominus muscles (TVA). This muscle wraps around the torso like a corset and is crucial for supporting your body during pregnancy and postpartum. When you breathe with deep, slow, complete exhalations -- as if exhaling through a thin straw -- you can tone the transverse abdominus muscles. This toning can strengthen the muscles needed to push the baby out when the time comes. 

IMPORTANT: The focus here is NOT on holding the breath, but on fully exhaling the breath. As you exhale, the abdominal muscles naturally engage in to expel air. If you’re actively toning your abdominal muscles, you’re most likely engaging the obliques rather than the TVA.

Straw exhalations

  • Sit upright, cross-legged or in virasana, hero’s pose
  • Take a full inhale with a relaxed torso
  • Exhale slowly, imagining moving your breath through a thin straw with a relaxed mouth, face and shoulders, slowly completing the exhalation, aiming for about 10 counts
  • Repeat for a few minutes

2. Pelvic tilts in tabletop - Increasing mobility in the pelvis can help ease discomfort throughout pregnancy. Pelvic tilts gently stretch the torso and pelvic floor. 

Pelvic Tilts

  • Come to all fours (tabletop) position
  • Align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips
  • Gaze down at the ground while extending the back of your neck
  • IMPORTANT: Keep your head, neck and shoulders stationary during this entire movement.
  • Inhale, keep the spine neutral and envision lengthening the spine from the crown of your head to your tailbone
  • Exhale and slowly drop your tailbone, rounding your lower back away from the ground
  • Inhale and return the spine to neutral tabletop position
  • Exhale and slowly drop your tailbone, rounding your lower back away from the ground
  • Repeat for a few minutes


3. Rest - Exhaustion is common in the first trimester, and learning to consciously relax the body can help throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and parenthood. Prioritize rest as you would any other way of nourishing your body. Naps are key!

Savasana (or just take a nap). 

Make yourself as comfortable as possible and close your eyes. Let go of any effort in the body and allow the mind to wander. If you find your thoughts racing, try to focus on the inward and outward flow of your breath. 

Listen to a sleep story or meditation. I love the Expectful app, here’s my link to an extended free trial.

Slowing down long enough to listen to your body can help you become aware of the constant changes you’re experiencing in pregnancy, labor, birth and parenthood.


What helped you feel your best in the first trimester? Tell me in the comments.


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