Can pregnant women practice Bikram Yoga?
Nancy Doherty (Congers, NY) on Sep 22, 2011
I personally advise my clients to skip Bikram while they are pregnant. There are no current studies that show it is harmful -- or that it isn't. So why take chances that it may cause issues when there are many other types of yoga you can do in the interim? If you've been practicing yoga for a while, move to another type of non-heated class for the first few months. Then you can move into a prenatal yoga class. For those who haven't ever done yoga before, I suggest starting with a prenatal yoga class. In any event, choose a class that is strictly for pregnant women and is taught by a certified prenatal yoga teacher.
Kim-Lien Kendall (New York, NY) on Sep 22, 2011
As with most things dealing with pregnant women, it is entirely up to the woman. Each pregnancy is different. My pregnancy had me throwing up buckets for the first 5 months, where as I have worked with women who did not even get nausea. I would say the most important thing to do as far as exercise is concerned is for the woman to build awareness in her body and her movements. As far as Bikram yoga is concerned, I would not personally recommend it for pregnant women, as the extreme heat alone can potentially lead to dangerous scenarios, especially if she is not familiar with the practice. If a woman has been practicing Bikram for years and has enough awareness to discern when she is unsafe, then I think it may be appropriate for her. But certainly not for beginners.
Melissa Gutierrez (New York, NY) on Sep 22, 2011
I would definitely advise against it. Aside from the heat making you feel like you're going to pass out, the heat can relax your muscles to the point that you don't realize you've overstretched something. During pregnancy joints are working towards opening up anyways (hello, pelvis). I would stick to activities that gently support that opening. Bikram yoga may be too much when your body is more prone to destabilization anyway.
Denise Nann (New York, NY) on Sep 22, 2011
Absolutely! Yoga has been reported to help pregnant women throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery. There are some important notes to consider before starting or continuing your practice. Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, fewer complications, greater ease and less duration of delivery and calm, happy babies. You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer. If you are currently a practitioner of Bikram Yoga, feel free to continue your practice as long as possible, under the advice of your doctor or midwife. Many women have practiced right up until delivery. Once you complete your 13th week, your teacher can instruct you in the modifications for pregnant women. You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to hormones and increased blood volume. If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until you have entered your second trimester before beginning classes. From the beginning, you will practice the pregnancy modifications.