Second Trimester of Pregnancy: Maintaining and Modifying Your Pilates and Yoga Workouts

three pregnant women doing yoga

The second trimester of pregnancy normally feels a lot better than the first. As hormone levels balance out , you being to regain your energy and have that lovely glow. For many women, it is noticeable that they are pregnant and, with the pregnancy more established, confidence arises. What a great time to gently move your body!

First, let me advise that the second trimester of your pregnancy is a bad time to begin a fitness program. If you are going to be involved in Pilates or yoga now, you really should have been practicing before pregnancy. As you return or continue with your practice, think about doing less abdominal contracting and instead allowing your abdomen to expand when you’re breathing. This should stretch the abdominals making rectus abdominis diastasis (a tear in the middle of the rectus abdominis) less likely. For more information about your abdominals, check out my article, “Meet Your Abdominals!

Now, the #1 most important rule:  Be mindful and listen to your body! Every day is a new day for you, your body, and your baby. Hormone changes and baby growth will make things shift, tighten, or contract inside you. Cultivate your beginner’s perspective and approach every workout as if it is your very first, and you should be able to safely practice through your pregnancy. Let me advise, if you let your ego take control and dictate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, an injury is almost certain. Ditch the ego; your body will thank you.


Please be conscious that the changes you could feel during the second trimester include:  headaches, abdominal muscle pain as ligaments stretch, itchiness in the abdomen, swelling in the ankles or feet, heartburn, flatulence, bloating, and brain lapse. Despite this long list of possible issues, most women are feeling much better in the second trimester than they were in the first.

The main cautions are that you should not be on your stomach, and you should avoid lying flat on your back. If you spend time flat on your back, you could develop a condition called Supine Hypertensive Syndrome, where the uterus compresses the vena cava, decreasing oxygen flow to both the mother and baby. No one wants that.

As I have mentioned, I am STOTT Pilates trained and certified, so the information below is from them.

  • Focus on exercises that develop the ability to be stable in neutral position. (However, do not do repetitive standing exercises.)
  • Change positions frequently.
  • Do not do inversions like Rollover.
  • When standing, imagine lifting up and out of your hips.
  • Focus on strengthening and stabilizing the shoulder girdle.
  • Use natural breathing patterns.


When I was pregnant, I consulted Mark Stephen’s book Yoga Sequencing. Here is a link to the book on Amazon. (I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I make a commission if you follow this link and buy this book.)

I’m using some of his information here today for you.

  • Pay attention to any numbness you might feel while lying on your back, as the increasing weight of the baby may put pressure on the vena cava, restricting blood flow.
  • The pelvis no longer protects the uterus, so start adapting asanas.
  • Avoid jarring movements and intense abdominal work, such as Navasana (Boat pose).
  • Work on keeping a neutral pelvis and spine in postures such as Tadasana (Mountain pose).
  • When standing, let the feet widen to accommodate the spreading pelvis. Keep this foot position while doing Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations).
  • Practice standing poses to develop or maintain balance, leg strength, and hip flexibility.
  • Play with seated hip openers and forward folds, allowing room for the baby.
  • For relaxation, place your legs up the wall with a bolster or blanket under your back, shoulders, and head as needed.

Before you enjoy your video, let me say something:  Oh my gosh, you guys! There is so much stuff in a YouTube search for second trimester Pilates workouts that is pure garbage! I’m not saying that the many, many videos that I watched aren’t good or that they don’t contain valuable content, however, if someone is asking you to do something quickly, stop. If anyone gets out hand weights, stop. If there are deep spinal twists, stop. These videos are not for you.

With all of that being said, enjoy!

If you enjoyed this article, please share this with your friends and sign up for my free newsletter (in the sidebar). You can also find me on Facebook and YouTube.

Pregnant ladies, how is your pregnancy going? Are you having any issues that you’d like me to address?

Next Friday, I will cover the third trimester!

First Trimester of Pregnancy:  Maintaining and Modifying Your Pilates and Yoga Workouts

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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