Is It Safe To Do Bikram Yoga During Pregnancy?

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Bikram yoga or hot yoga is fast gaining popularity all over the world.  This type of yoga takes place in heated rooms with high humidity.  Bikram yoga has many health benefits that are attracting more and more people. A better heart, improved physical fitness, reduced stress- all are pros of doing hot yoga.

However, there is a debate on whether bikram yoga is safe for pregnant women. Some people believe that the high heat and humidity required for this yoga can prove harmful fir the fetus. It can also harm the mother. This type of yoga is quite rigorous and might physically harm the mother and the baby. Pregnancy is a crucial phase in every woman’s life. It is important to know all about the benefits and risks of doing bikram yoga during pregnancy.

How Safe is Bikram Yoga During Pregnancy?

bikram yoga during pregnancy

Is it safe?

Doing yoga during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial. Yoga improves the quality of life and reduces pregnancy related stress and depression. Bikram yoga however is a controversial form of yoga for pregnant women. This yoga is usually practiced in a room of 90 to 105 degree. The humidity is almost 60 percent. This yoga practice is discouraged for pregnant women. It is especially risky to practice this in your first trimester. The excessive heat is considered harmful for the developing fetus in your womb.

What are the risks?

  • The heat is the primary concern in Bikram yoga. Doctors’ advice against hot bath, sauna and hot tubs during pregnancy. This is because the heat is very harmful for the developing fetus in your womb. Bikram yoga falls in this bracket because of the heat necessary to do this yoga. If you get too hot, the blood in your body rushes to the skin to cool it. This prevents your baby from getting necessary blood for development. Your heart also does not receive enough blood in such a case.
  • Overheating your body during pregnancy can also cause preterm labor. Excessive heat is very harmful during pregnancy. This is why doing hot yoga can be risky at this time.
  • The heat in Bikram yoga can also affect the hormones of your body. This might not happen to everybody but is a possible risk you should not ignore.
  • Bikram yoga involves doing difficult poses that might impact your pregnancy negatively. Lying on your back for a long time while doing this yoga can stop the blood flow to your heart. It is a dangerous risk during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy requires careful handling of your body. Otherwise it might harm the baby. Rigorous asana practiced in Bikram yoga can affect the baby in your womb. Doing poses that might allow air into your vagina can put your pregnancy at risk.
  • Hot yoga can make your muscles warm. This will make you stretch more. Over stretching is very dangerous during pregnancy. It can affect the baby and even cause miscarriage.
  • Staying hydrated is very important during pregnancy. Bikram yoga can make your body very dehydrated. Doing yoga in a heated room is bound to soak all the moisture from your body. You are also going to sweat a lot. All this will make your body dehydrated. This is very dangerous during pregnancy. Your body and baby need sufficient fluid. Dehydration can cause severe complications in your pregnancy.
  • Bikram yoga is a physically intense form of exercise. Pregnancy is not the time to do intense workouts. It can negatively impact your pregnancy. Rigorous movements and poses can harm the baby in many ways.
  • Doing an intense yoga like hot yoga will tighten your muscles. Tightening of the pelvic muscles can cause serious complications during labor. It is necessary to tone your pelvic floor muscles to a certain extent. But tightening them can lead to difficulty during delivery. This is another risk of doing Bikram yoga during pregnancy.
  • The hormonal instability caused by hot yoga can make the joints vulnerable. This is indeed harmful during pregnancy. It can lead to problem in maintaining the pregnancy full term. Problem during labor is also possible because of joint damage.
  • If you are not used to hot yoga before pregnancy, doing it during pregnancy can be dangerous. The excess heat and humidity can even cause heat stroke. It can also cause hyperthermia that can lead to neural tube defects in the baby. Pregnancy induces high blood pressure in most pregnant women. Exercising in too much heat is therefore all the more risky.

Precautions

If you want to practice Bikram yoga during pregnancy, there are a few precautions to note. Taking precautions will ensure safety for the baby in your womb.

  • Avoid staying in the overheated for a long stretch of time. Keep taking breaks frequently by coming out of the room to cool down. Constant heating of your body is dangerous during pregnancy.
  • Make sure to keep yourself hydrated throughout the yoga practice. Loss of fluid in the form of sweating can pose threats to you and your baby. Keep drinking water during the breaks.
  • Avoid doing difficult poses that involve lying on your belly or back. This can affect your pregnancy and sometimes even lead to premature labor.
  • Do not try headstands or inversion poses during pregnancy. This can change the position of the baby in your womb. It can be prove life threatening for your baby.
  • Do not overdo while practicing yoga. Over exertion can be fatal during pregnancy. Listen to your body and do accordingly. It is important to observe moderation during pregnancy.

Conclusion

Bikram yoga can be very beneficial. It can improve your posture, reduce back pain, improve heart health and lessen stress and depression. This is why many pregnant women also prefer doing this yoga. Though it is not medically proven, hot yoga can be fatal during pregnancy. The excess heat in this type of yoga can affect the baby’s development. It can cause permanent birth defects as well. It is therefore wise to err on the side of caution. Avoid doing Bikram yoga during pregnancy. If you still want to, better take the green signal from your doctor before attempting it.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-yoga/art-20047193?pg=2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3994790/

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