Hot yoga is a style of yoga that’s done in a studio with heated, humid conditions. Bikram yoga is the most popular type of hot yoga. It’s a 90-minute class that consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The room is typically heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. So, can you do hot yoga while pregnant? We’ll explore the arguments for and against it below.
Some Schools Allow Pregnant Women to Partake in Hot Yoga
On the one hand, some people argue that hot yoga can help relieve pregnancy symptoms like nausea and fatigue. Additionally, some schools allow pregnant women to partake in hot yoga with certain modifications. For example, they aren’t allowed to lie flat on their belly or do deep twists. If it’s allowed, then it must be safe, right?
Well, not necessarily. Can you do hot yoga while pregnant? We’ll consult the experts to find out.
Can You Do Hot Yoga While Pregnant?
On the other hand, hot yoga can dehydrate and overheat you, especially when you’re pregnant. Dehydration can lead to Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor pains) and possibly premature labor. Even if you stay hydrated, studies suggest that maternal hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) in the first trimester can harm the fetus.
The risks associated with hot yoga are similar to those associated with using saunas, hot tubs and electric blankets, and they include:
- an increased risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly in the fetus;
- an increased risk of gastroschisis, esophageal atresia and omphalocele (birth defects of the gastrointestinal system).
There’s also an increased risk of overstretching, muscle damage and torn cartilage in the pregnant woman who is doing hot yoga. This is because the pregnant woman’s body produces a hormone called relaxin, which makes her joints and ligaments looser.
To be fair, there hasn’t been extensive studies on hot yoga specifically and its effects on pregnant women. So, can you do hot yoga while pregnant? The jury is still out, but it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and avoid it.
Healthy Alternatives to Hot Yoga
If you’re looking for a workout during pregnancy, there are plenty of other options that are safer. Regular yoga, walking, and swimming are all great exercises to do while pregnant. You can also try prenatal Pilates, which is a low-impact exercise that can help strengthen your muscles and improve your balance.
No matter what exercise you choose, make sure to listen to your body and stop if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous. If you have any other concerns, talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise routine.
Pregnancy is an amazing time, and you want to do everything you can to keep you and your baby healthy. So, can you do hot yoga while pregnant? It’s probably best to avoid it and stick to other exercises that are safer for you and your baby.
Although the increased risks of diseases still aren’t very big, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different. So, if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Maternal hyperthermia and the risk for neural tube defects in offspring: systematic review and meta-analysis. M. E. Moretti, B. Bar-Oz, S. Fried, G. Koren. 2005
Maternal use of hot tubs and major structural birth defects. H. T. Duong, S. S. Hashmi, T. Ramadhani, M. A. Canfield, A. Scheuerle, D. K. Waller, National Birth Defects Prevention Study. 2011
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