Hot Yoga While Pregnant: Is It Safe?
If you’re pregnant and wondering can you do hot yoga while pregnant? Well, the answer to this question is not as simple as you might think.
While pregnancy, exercising might be the last thing to do on your to-do list. Yet, it is super important and beneficial for the health of the mom and the baby. Exercises like yoga and meditation keep your health intact during pregnancy and ease the discomforts of pregnancy too.
The benefits of yoga are countless for mental and physical health. It relaxes your mind and body while releasing stress and painful aches during pregnancy. Parental yoga especially increases and stimulates mental and physical health.
Considering the benefits of yoga, there is nothing to get amazed by the number of yoga gyms and classes available nowadays, both online and offline. However, a heavy exercise routine like hot yoga still holds a question mark regarding its safety during pregnancy.
Table of Contents
What is Hot Yoga?
As the name suggests, hot yoga is a form of yoga performed in a hot and humid atmosphere. During hot yoga, the room temperature is around 90 to 105 degrees, and humidity at 60% to 70%. This temperature is scorching and feels like 100 to 149 degrees for an unhabitual person.
There are many types of hot yoga like Hath, Bikram, and Vinyasa, including yoga, poses from stretching, standing to strong muscle movements. These yoga sessions usually consist of a period of 90 minutes. The dense and hot environment helps in producing more sweat than usual, which leads to weight loss. Hot yoga also helps in detoxifying the body while increasing your flexibility. However, the hot and humid environment also makes it intense to practice hot yoga in pregnancy.
Hot yoga is not considered for everyone, especially beginners, as the hot temperature may cause fatigue, heat exhaustion, and heat-strokes. Sometimes, even trained yogis find it difficult to practice these asanas in such a hot environment. People with heart diseases and aged over 50 are advised to drop the idea of hot yoga and practice other easy yoga exercises.
Hot Yoga While Pregnancy
The million-dollar question: Is it safe to practice hot yoga during the course of pregnancy? The answer is not very clear when it comes to this question, as no former research has been done to date. Yet, we’ve still managed to conclude the results as a NO!
Hot yoga means excessive heat, resulting in an increased risk of defects in the neural tube and malformations of fetuses exposed to the heat. Exposure to such heat is not good for the baby’s health, which is why pregnancy with hot yoga is not a very good idea, especially in the trimester.
It may cause heat exertion, fainting, and dehydration by affecting the blood pressure and hormones during pregnancy. It also increases the chances of dangerous diseases in the baby like gastroschisis, esophageal atresia, omphalocele, spina bifida, and anencephaly. The risk of biomechanical issues also rises, which manifests in the last months of pregnancy.
Risks of Hot Yoga During Pregnancy:
The risk ratio of practicing hot yoga gets higher for pregnant women due to the heat and humidity involved. It includes challenging poses and high temperatures, which can be difficult for pregnant women regardless of fitness level. These risks are likely to cause severe complications for them both the mother and the baby. Following are the issues that are risked by doing hot yoga during pregnancy:
Stress and Anxiety:
Hot yoga poses require effort and technique which can make you feel weak and tired very soon during pregnancy. Excessive heat also increases the heart-beat and blood-flow. This can lead to stress and anxiety in the baby which may affect the growth of him/her as well.
Muscle and Joint Issues:
The hot environment increases flexibility while stretching. Therefore, this increases the risk of overstretching while performing yoga poses leading to muscle damage and joint pain. Moreover, during pregnancy, the hormone relaxin production, the joints are loosened to prepare the body for birth. This increases the risk of injuries and sensitivity related to muscles and joints.
High heat produces more sweat than usual, increasing when you combine it all with yoga and workout. While doing hot yoga, our body tends to release fluids, making you feel dizzy and fainted by causing dehydration.
Neural Defects and Malformation:
According to a study, the risk of neural tube defects due to high-temperature increases. The first trimester of pregnancy is sensitive as a development stage. Overheating is known as hyperthermia caused by hot yoga increases your body temperature. This situation is dangerous for the baby and his mental growth and development.
There are more chances for accidents to happen while performing difficult hot yoga poses. The heat ratio during this yoga session is also unfavorable for pregnant women which can lead to incidents like a miscarriage.
Alternatives of Hot Yoga:
Doctors and health specialists advise taking moderate exercising sessions even during pregnancy to better mom and the baby. While hot yoga is preferably not the best form of yoga to practice during pregnancy, various other parental exercise options are available to go for.
Running while pregnant is a good routine exercise as it activates the muscles. If you already have a habit of running then it is easier and favorable for you to carry on running during the trimester. However, do not overdo your strength and run only as much as you feel able to. Also, we will advise women with complicated pregnancy cases to consult their doctor before adding this exercise to their schedule.
Unlike hot yoga, swimming helps you to move your muscles while not even feeling your weight. Requiring less effort, it also keeps the body hydrated and prevents overheating. Taking swimming classes during pregnancy is indeed a healthy habit that activates your mind and body with less ratio of risk.
Hatha yoga is one of the best choices for a pregnant woman. This yoga includes the activation of your body, mind, and breath-based on the 40 to 90 minutes long yoga sessions. The posses in this yoga are practiced slowly which is why it is preferable for pregnant women.
Pilates helps in stress and anxiety just like yoga. It also improves muscle tone, body posture, and flexibility. Pilates is completely safe to incorporate into your daily routine during pregnancy. It also helps in the labor and delivery process.
The benefits of restorative yoga are so many that you would love to add it to your 9 month pregnancy period. It helps in balancing the blood flow and heart rate. Restorative yoga releases stress, depression, muscle, and joints pain too.
Consult your Doctor:
Last but not least, your doctor might know the best about your health. So, always consult your doctor before including any exercise and diet in your daily routine during pregnancy. Your yoga or gym teacher is also liable for helping you decide on the best option for you. In-case if you have a complicated or sensitive pregnancy case, then asking your doctor for her advice becomes more important. This will prevent you from practicing anything that may cause harm to you or your baby. It also minimizes the risk of complications at the time of delivery.
Yoga has incredible health benefits even during pregnancy. But as far as the question of hot yoga while pregnant is concerned. Hot yoga might not be the best possible form of yoga at this time. Hot yoga requires a high temperature and humid environment to produce more sweat and fluids out of the body. This increases the risks of heat strokes, increased blood flow, dehydration, and muscle and joints cramps.