New Study Finds More Yoga Poses Safe During Pregnancy

Prenatal yoga has long avoided certain poses, but new research indicates some of them may be safer than once thought.
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Prenatal yoga has long avoided certain poses, but new research indicates some of them may be safer than once thought.
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Women have long been told to avoid certain poses in a prenatal practice, but new research indicates some of them may be safer than once thought.

New research suggests some of the poses typically advised against in prenatal yoga classes may actually be perfectly safe for healthy moms-to-be. Women are traditionally told to avoid certain poses during pregnancy for the safety of mother and baby. For obvious reasons, inversions and prone postures (lying flat on the belly) like Locust or Bow Pose are not practiced as the womb grows bigger. But other poses, such as Downward-Facing Dog, Happy Baby Pose, and Corpse Pose, are also often advised against.

See alsoPrenatal Yoga Poses

In a study just published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, Rachael Polis, M.D., a gynecologist in Louisville, Kentucky, and a team of researchers observed 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimesters, who were guided through one-on-one yoga classes of 26 poses. The postures varied from standing poses to twists to stretches. While they avoided inversions to minimize risk of falling as well as prone poses, they did include Downward-Facing Dog, Happy Baby, and Corpse Pose.

"We found these postures were really well-tolerated by women in our study," Polis told NPR. "Women's vital signs, heart rates, blood pressure—these all remained normal." (It should be noted that all the women recruited for the study had healthy pregnancies—no high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.)

See alsoHow to Approach Yoga During Pregnancy

The researchers monitored fetal heart rate throughout the experiment and found that it remained normal during all 26 poses. In addition, there were no falls or injuries. And none of the women reported "decreased fetal movement, contractions, leakage or fluid, or vaginal bleeding in the 24-hour follow-up," NPR reports.

While this is preliminary information, it seems that pregnant women may be able to go a little further in their yoga practice than previously thought. If you're unsure of how to approach yoga during pregnancy, this simple sequence below, led by Jessica Walden, an experienced Ashtanga yoga teacher based in Encinitas, California, and a contributor to Sonima.com, is a good place to start. However, be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any new form of physical exercise while pregnant.

A Prenantal Yoga Sequence

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