Study Finds One More Reason For Pregnant Women To Hit The Yoga Mat

Written by Anna Williams

We already know there are a ton of benefits to practicing yoga during pregnancy — from easing lower back pain to decreasing the risk of preterm birth.

But how advanced can a pregnant woman really get with her poses?

According to a new study published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, even the seemingly more exotic yoga poses are actually perfectly safe for both pregnant mamas and their little ones.

Previously, many expecting moms have been discouraged from doing certain poses later in pregnancy, like downward-facing dog, happy baby pose and corpse pose. But there have been few scientific studies that have looked into what's actually safe.

So a team of researchers decided to follow a group of 25 healthy women in their third trimesters. Some of the participants regularly practiced yoga, while others were complete novices.

In the study, the women performed a wide range of 26 poses — from one-legged balances to downward-facing dog. The only poses they were told to avoid were inversions like headstands and anything that meant lying on their bellies (for obvious reasons).

Meanwhile, the researchers monitored vital signs, like the woman's blood pressure and the baby's heart rate.

The result? Every position was found to be safe — there was no decrease in fetal movement, no contractions, no decrease in any of the vital signs (for either mama or infant), and in a follow-up, no one reported leakage or vaginal bleeding. Plus, there were zero falls or injures.

"This is preliminary information, but I think it's exciting and reassuring to know there were no adverse changes for both mom or baby," Dr. Rachael Polis, the study's lead researcher told NPR.

In other words: As long as your pregnancy is low-risk and you aren't, say, attempting headstands during hot yoga sessions, feel free to hit the mat, mamas!

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