Doing Hot Yoga While Pregnant: Risks & Safety Tips

Practising Hot Yoga during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

There are many views regarding doing hot yoga during pregnancy. Some experts argue that hot yoga should not be practised during pregnancy, while some say that it is safe to continue practising hot yoga during pregnancy, provided that the pregnant woman has already been doing it over a period of time. Doctors worry that hot yoga can increase the temperature of a new mother’s body but yoga instructors say that the body temperature goes up only by one degree when practising hot yoga, so there is nothing to worry about. It is up to the mother to make the choice which is suitable for her.

What is Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is the latest trend that is being followed all over the world. It is a form of yoga which is practised in an extremely humid and hot room – sometimes 104 degrees or more and humidity at 40%. Extreme forms of hot yoga are done typically in rooms with temperatures between 90-105 degrees and 60-70% humidity. Such temperatures can feel like 100-149 degrees for a regular human body.

How Does it Work?

The heat is believed to enhance your flexibility, endurance, and weight loss. One session of hot yoga can last up to 90 minutes, depending on what skill you are at. Practising hot yoga is difficult even for a trained practitioner. It may cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion if the exertion and temperature overwhelm your body. People tend to stretch much more in heated environments, and this can sometimes lead to muscle or joint damage. People over the age of 50 who have heart complications or are taking prescribed medications should check with their doctor before attempting hot yoga.

Can You Do Hot Yoga while Pregnant?

Is hot yoga safe while pregnant? Generally, the consensus is that it is best to avoid hot yoga altogether during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your tendons and muscles loosen up to prepare for the baby growing inside you. This means that your muscles are more likely to extend beyond normal in the heat. As pregnancy affects your blood pressure, doing hot yoga can increase the risk of heat exertion, heat stroke, and fainting during pregnant. Exposure to such levels of heat can be harmful to your baby as hyperthermia (high body temperature) can increase the risks of neural birth defects like spina bifida in your baby. It can also increase the risk of more serious defects like anencephaly (in which the child’s skull and brain fail to form fully) or gastroschisis (in which the child’s organs protrude through the stomach).

Risks of Doing Hot Yoga During Pregnancy

There are several possible risks of doing hot yoga during pregnancy. These include:

  • Practising hot yoga during pregnancy can lead to several health issues. As your body changes, you are more likely to experience dizziness. Also, standing in a hot room is usually unbearable for women who are pregnant as their body temperature is already slightly higher in pregnancy.
  • The biggest cause for concern is overheating. Overheating of the body during pregnancy is dangerous for the baby as his organ and brain development can be negatively affected.
  • Practising hot yoga during pregnancy can also lead to dehydration.
  • The hot yoga postures may be too difficult to master for a pregnant woman.

A pregnant woman exercising

How to Do Hot Yoga Safely in Pregnancy

Have you been doing hot yoga regularly before pregnancy? Then some experts say that the risks associated with hot yoga and pregnancy are lower. Here are a few tips to do hot yoga while pregnant in the first trimester:

  • Before starting with hot yoga in pregnancy, inform your instructor about your health condition. Some hot yoga poses are not suitable for pregnant ladies. Any poses that cut off blood flow to the uterus or put pressure on the belly are off-limits.
  • Drink lots of water while doing any form of exercise.
  • If you are new to hot yoga while you are pregnant or if you have taken a long break beforehand, then it is better to avoid practising it. You can instead do some forms of exercise in pregnancy and stay active.
  • Do not overdo it. Remember that you are pregnant and your baby’s safety is important over anything else. Find a cool spot to practice hot yoga and if you feel sick, immediately stop.
  • Hot yoga should be avoided if you have other health issues. If your pregnancy has been ruled by the doctor as a low risk one, then you can do hot yoga.
  • You can check if there is a hot yoga class especially for pregnant women, which does not employ the heat but includes some of the postures.

Whether or not should pregnant women do hot yoga is a personal choice. Some pregnant women find the practice soothing, while others don’t. Hot yoga can help improve hormonal problems and certain other health issues. However, if you have never done hot yoga before pregnancy, it might be best to stick to a normal yoga form that is suited for pregnant women. Your baby’s safety comes first before anything else. If you want, you can practice hot yoga after your baby is delivered safely.

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