Is hot yoga during pregnancy safe?

Is hot yoga during pregnancy safe?

You may know about the benefits of practising yoga while pregnant. It is a low impact work-out that is ideal for pregnant women. But what about doing Bikram yoga while pregnant?


You may know about the benefits of practicing yoga while pregnant. It is a low impact work-out that is ideal for pregnant women. There are also many yoga classes tailored especially for keeping you fit while pregnant. But what about doing hot yoga during pregnancy?

Is hot yoga during pregnancy a good combination?

During a session of hot yoga, knows as Bikram yoga, the room is heated to around 40 degrees Celsius and the humidity is around 40%. The heat is supposed to enhance flexibility, weight loss and endurance. A work-out can last up to 90 minutes, depending on skill level.

Pregnancy is a time when your body goes through a lot of changes. It's only normal since a baby is developing inside your womb. If you are planning to do Bikram yoga then you should consider the risks to you and your baby.

Possible risks of hot yoga during pregnancy

  • The biggest risk is overheating. Studies show that overheating while pregnant can be very risky for the baby. In the first trimester, all the organs are forming, a process that can be affected by heat. Also, the baby's brain development can be affected by the heat at any time during pregnancy.
  • You can experience health issues while doing Bikram yoga. As your body is changing, you'll be more prone to dizziness. Also, during pregnancy, your core temperature is a bit more elevated. Standing in a hot room is usually unbearable for a pregnant woman.
  • Dehydration can be a cause for concern.
  • The postures themselves may not be suitable or can be difficult to achieve.

Is there a safe way to practice Bikram yoga?

Experts say the risks are lower during pregnancy if you have been practicing it regularly beforehand. Some celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy swear by  Bikram yoga even while pregnant. But you should follow some simple guidelines to minimise the risks.

  • Hot yoga and pregnancy are not a good mix if the practice is new to you. Also, if you have taken a longer break from Bikram, it's better to try other type of work-outs.
  • Always tell your instructor that you are pregnant. Some postures are off limits to pregnant ladies. Any asanas that compress the belly or restrict the blood flow to the uterus have to be avoided.
  • Always hydrate properly during any work-out.
  • Don't overdo it. Remember that you are, indeed, pregnant. The baby's safety comes first. Find a cooler spot to do your training and stop if you feel unwell.
  • Bikram yoga is not recommended if you have health issues. If your pregnancy is low risk, then it is safer to practice it.
  • Consider a Bikram yoga class designed for pregnant women that does not use the heat but still incorporates some of the same postures.

Watch: 20 week pregnant Lucy Snell talks about practicing Bikram yoga while pregnant

All things considered, Bikram is still safer than taking a very hot bath or going to the sauna during pregnancy. If the room is well ventilated, you may be able to cool down your body temperature efficiently through sweating.

Hot yoga during pregnancy is an issue that is under a lot of debate. Some women find the practice very comforting. It can help with hormonal issues, as well as improve other health aspects. However, consider doing a normal yoga routine that is suitable for pregnant women. Pregnancy is temporary and the baby's safety is most important, as well as your overall health.

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