For some reason these days (perhaps it’s out new found emphasis on health, wellness and safety) we have a tendency to want to wrap pregnant women in cotton wool. Despite women working in the fields and running extremely busy households for thousands of years while pregnant, these days there seems to be an ever growing lists of ‘don’ts’ when it comes to carrying a child. Don't eat soft cheese, don't eat sushi, don't change the kitty litter... – so when a study finds that yoga (not just prenatal yoga) is safe for pregnancy we think that’s a pretty good reason to share!
Thankfully a team of researchers from the US has decided to set the record straight, and in a recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology they looked at women between 35 and 38 weeks pregnant doing a range of 26 basic yoga poses to establish their safety. The only poses avoided were active inversions (like handstand and headstand) and poses requiring them to lay on their bellies (for obvious reasons!).
They looked at both women brand new to yoga and those who had been practicing regularly for a while and monitored their blood pressure and the babies heart rates throughout the poses. The poses including standing poses (including one-legged balances), downward facing dog, seated and reclining poses. In a big tick for yoga, none of the postures caused worrying changes in any of the women's vital signs, and the babies heart rates also stayed within normal ranges.
Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, in New York City says "In a healthy pregnancy, we encourage all kinds of moderate activity, I think these findings help validate what we've been telling women."
Whilst unfortunately hot yoga doesn’t make the cut, they say that there’s no reason why pregnant women shouldn’t break a little sweat as long as they’re no over exerting. Pregnancy definitely isn’t the time to set any crazy fitness goals. At Stretch, alongside our Prenatal Yoga Courses, we highly recommend our Simple Stretch class for a class that gets your body moving, and our Deep Stretch class if you’re looking to simply bliss out!
If you want to find out more or have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch or talk to your teacher before your next class!