Are you a pregnant yogi? We’ve heard so much about yoga being good for pregnancy, but is it really, as in, scientifically proven to be safe for pregnancy?
We don’t always need science to convince us of things we feel in our bodies, but then again it’s nice to have studies to support the gazillions of prenatal yoga classes drawing in pregnant mommas hoping the practice will prepare them for an amazing, easeful and peaceful birth experience (if you don’t believe this is a thing, go to any prenatal yoga class and you’ll find plenty of newbies trying it out as their first yoga class ever…also, check in with any pregnant celebrity’s instagram).
The thing is, there really isn’t much science on prenatal yoga at all. So gynecologist Dr. Rachael Polis of Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, decided to lead her own study. Bringing together 25 healthy pregnant women in their third trimesters with varying levels of yoga experience, the study involved one-on-one yoga classes involving 26 poses (no, not Bikram! that debate is still ongoing) including standing poses, easy twists and stretching but avoiding inversion like headstand and handstand to bypass any risk of falls (though we do know some pregnant mommies are fine doing these poses up until giving birth).
The women also avoided laying on their bellies, which presents an obvious contraindication, but they did do a few poses some prenatal yoga teachers out there might normally consider no-nos, like happy baby and regular back-lying savasana. (Typically prenatal yogis are instructed to lie on their side, usually the left, to avoid putting extra pressure on the superior vena cava, a large vein deep in the chest carrying blood to the heart from the head, neck and upper limbs.) Down dog was also included.
The good news? All of the women responded positively! “We found these postures were really well-tolerated by women in our study,” Polis told NPR. Well, that’s a vote of confidence if ever we’ve heard one. “Women’s vital signs, heart rates, blood pressure — these all remained normal,” she said.
Even better is all of the women had continuous fetal monitoring during their yoga practice and fetal heart rate remained normal as well.
“This is preliminary information, but I think it’s exciting and reassuring to know there were no adverse changes for both mom or baby,” Polis says.
So it’s not anything groundbreaking in terms of yoga making pregnancy better, per se, except for the fact that now your yoga practice is one less thing you have to stress about while pregnant! That’s nice, right? Now kick up those swollen feet, breathe, and enjoy yourself some tummy love.
The results of the study have been published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
To add to all of this, of course, be sure to check in with your care provider. Also, might we add, if you are pregnant, to look into a reputable class either in a studio, online or on DVD, and listen to what your bodies are telling you as far as poses and comfort levels go. Then read this article about squatting and not tucking your tail.
- The Inner Baby Carriage – Perfect Posture for a Pain-Free Pregnancy
- Study Says Yoga Reduces Depression in Pregnant Moms
- Top Four Yogini States of Mind for Your ‘Old School’ Birthing Experience