Are Yoga Inversions Safe For Pregnant Women?

Is it safe to do yoga inversions while pregnant? It depends…

This is a topic that spurs much debate, so today we will dive a little deeper into the question, is it safe for pregnant women to practice yoga inversions?

Any pose where the heart is higher than the head is considered an inversion, so there is a wide variety of yoga poses that count as inversions. Some of these are more mild, such as Standing Forward Fold or Downward Facing Dog, while others, such as Shoulder Stand or Head Stand, are more extreme.

Some people contend that you should avoid ALL inversion poses during pregnancy, while others advise that some of the gentler poses are perfectly safe and may in fact be very helpful for pregnant women.

So what is the bottom line? There are two important considerations to keep in mind:

1.) Whether you did these poses regularly before you got pregnant, and

2.) What feels good to you!

If you are perfectly comfortable doing Shoulder Stand and have been doing it for ages, AND it still feels fine to your body to do it while you’re pregnant, it is probably safe to continue to do it. If it stops feeling comfortable or something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it!

Here are a few more tips from for doing inversions while pregnant:

Taking up a Handstand practice mid-pregnancy is a bad idea for the same reason that putting on ice skates and taking to a skating rink for the first time during pregnancy is a bad idea. Almost no one learns to ice skate without falling a time or two, and the same is true for inversions like Handstand, Headstand, and Forearm Balance.

However, if you’ve been doing it for years and you feel safe and secure going upside down, it’s probably to continue for as long as you feel it’s a good idea. But please take precautions to make sure you won’t fall. Remember that during pregnancy your center of gravity shifts so much so quickly that your balance might be questionable.

  • Enlist the help of a partner (or better yet an experienced yoga teacher) to spot you
  • Move close to a wall just in case you need a little extra support or start to topple

And, of course, be sure to consult with your doctor or midwife first, just to make sure there’s not anything unusual going on with your pregnancy that might make things more risky!

If you decide not to do inversions while pregnant, here are a few variations you can use instead:

So, let’s say you’ve decided that inversions aren’t for you during your pregnancy, but you still want to reap the benefits. After all, taking some of the pressure off of your joints and setting yourself up so that gravity’s pull is creating more space in your body is kind of awesome when you’re pregnant.

I always offer Puppy Pose (still a mild inversion, BTW, but with less pressure on the wrists for mamas with Carpel Tunnel issues) and Child’s Pose as options in lieu of Downward-Facing Dog. They’re good ways to get a bit of rest in and stretch the spine without doing anything too crazy different than the rest of the class–even if you’re not a prenatal-focused class.

What about Handstand, Headstand, Forearm Balance, and Shoulderstand? Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose) is ahhhhh-mazing. Just use a thick bolster or stack of blankets to elevate your hips or build a ramp with a bolster and two blocks.

Read more about doing yoga inversions during pregnancy at


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