Can I Continue to Practice if I Get Pregnant?

"Naturally, many pregnant women have concerns about hot yoga/hot pilates during pregnancy.  

At the studio, we’ve had several women in low-risk pregnancies have their doctors tell them that they could not practice hot yoga while pregnant, with little information on the classes.  Please take the concerns of your physician or midwife seriously.  Women with high-risk pregnancies must first obtain a doctor’s note to participate in classes at Radiant Yoga Ukiah.

Many doctors, however, incorrectly assume that practicing in a hot room is akin to being in a sauna or Jacuzzi and that is where their concern develops.  Both a sauna and a Jacuzzi are much hotter than a standard hot yoga class.  The biggest difference is the inability for the body to cool itself when in a sauna or Jacuzzi.  Sweat (evapotranspiration) and moving air (convection) are the cooling mechanisms for a practicing yogi.  Neither of these are existent in a Jacuzzi and only one (sweat) in a sauna where the air is heated up to 40 degrees hotter than a Bikram Yoga or Inferno Hot Pilates class.

Studies conducted in Los Angeles (with non-pregnant students) and Northampton, Massachusetts (with pregnant students only) have found that temperature change in a hot yogi is negligible during class (average 0.6 degree temperature change).  Most physicians recommend that a pregnant woman keep her temperature below 102 degrees; this is well-below that range. Research done at Colorado State University affirms that core temperatures remain in the safe range during hot yoga.

As a healthy woman with a low-risk pregnancy, neither the yoga nor the heat should be cause for fear.  With that in mind, you should NEVER practice hot yoga pregnant without first informing and consulting with your teacher.  There are modifications to all postures that compress the abdomen, aorta, and diaphragm or exert too much pressure on the perineum and pelvis.

Armed with the correct modifications for pregnancy, the next concerns of a pregnant woman should be nutrition, hydration and exhaustion.  The average woman burns approximately 330 calories during a 90-minute hot yoga class.  A pregnant woman’s metabolism is much higher, so she may burn even more.  Be sure to eat high quality meals to replace the lost calories and minerals.  It is also advisable for the pregnant woman to eat a small, easy-to-digest snack about an hour prior to class.

Proper hydration is critical during gestation to maintain amniotic fluid levels, increase blood volume and ensure proper function of the kidneys.  Be sure to drink water before, during and after class.  At least an additional liter of water per day is recommended when practicing.  Stop and sip water during class whenever you need it.

Finally, listen carefully to your body regarding your limits.  Especially in the first trimester, you may find yourself more tired or lose control of your breath more easily.  Listen to the signs to slow down and do so immediately.  Don’t be surprised if your practice changes dramatically in the first trimester even though your belly is still small.  There are an incredible amount of changes occurring (increase in uterine muscle, development of an additional two liters of blood, roller coaster hormone changes and more) in the first twelve weeks.  Sit down, take a break, have a drink or even leave the room when you need." Sara Curry, Owner, Blaze Yoga & Fitness.
AND we will save you a spot by the door!
We also have pregnancy series DVD's available at the studio.

"Pregnant women CAN practice in the heat. Listen, we're not saying that if you're person who has specific health issues or pregnancy complication, you should ignore your doctor's orders. Absolutely not. We are not doctors and we're never gonna pretend otherwise. We are saying that this persistent myth about how pregnant women shouldn't exercise at all and definitely shouldn't exercise in the heat has to end and go away forever.
Let's STOP scaring healthy pregnant women out of doing the things they love and let's START supporting them in doing the things that help them feel their best. There are a ton of benefits correlated to hot fitness. These benefits are evidence-based and have been repeatedly studied by many different kinds of doctors and scientists. Check this out: During a hot fitness class, body temperature increases by about .5 -1.5 degrees F (whether you are pregnant or not). This activates the heat shock response pathway which promotes some pretty great things....like improved immune function and reduced risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease." Marla Thomas, Owner, Queen City Yoga and Fitness.