IS BIKRAM YOGA
SAFE FOR ME DURING PREGNANCY?
The practice of yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for a woman when she is pregnant. The balance of strength work and stretching, the pace at which the class is done, and the mental tranquillity and relaxation that it brings are just a few of the many benefits, and should be continued. Although it is recommended that you do not start anything new in pregnancy, this is not an extreme form of fitness, and I believe that this is one form of gentle but intense exercise that can be done even if you have never done yoga before you fell pregnant. However, Bikram yoga is a little different as it involves exercising in a room with a temperature of 30°C to 38°C. Pregnant women are warned to stay away from steam baths and saunas as we know that increased core temperatures may have an effect on the developing embryo. Many women continue with Bikram yoga as their bodies are used to it, but it is better to avoid it if you are pregnant and you have never done it before now. Body temperature increases as we burn energy resources to get fuel for vigorous activity. The mother’s heat can be transferred across the placenta to the foetus. As the foetus has no mechanism for getting rid of heat, this could lead to potential birth defects, much more of a concern in early pregnancy than later. Studies in animals show that temperatures higher than 38°C had a high incidence of neural tube defects. Women need to be advised to avoid overheating, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy when the most vital organs and body parts of the foetus are being formed.