There are many different kinds of yoga. But if you’re trying yoga for the first time during pregnancy, it’s best to stick with prenatal yoga. For most pregnant women, prenatal yoga is a safe way to stay active and healthy. It also helps get your body and mind ready for labor and birth.
A prenatal yoga teacher can help you stay safe and avoid risky poses, like lying on your belly or flat on your back (after the first trimester). And prenatal yoga classes are a great way to meet other moms-to-be.
Yoga is safe for most women. But it may not be safe for you if:
Talk to your health care provider before starting any yoga or other exercise program during pregnancy. If you were doing yoga before you got pregnant, tell your yoga teacher that you’re pregnant. Simple changes to your yoga routine can help you stay safe. As you get closer to your due date, prenatal yoga may be a better fit for your changing body than your usual yoga classes.
Yes. Don’t do Bikram yoga (sometimes called hot yoga) during pregnancy. This kind of yoga takes place in a room where the temperature is set to more than 100 F. It’s not safe for pregnant women because it can cause hyperthermia, a condition that happens when your body temperature gets too high.
Your local yoga studio, community center or gym may offer prenatal yoga classes. If you want to exercise at home, you can follow a prenatal yoga video or book.
Prenatal yoga helps you tone and stretch your muscles so that your body gets strong and flexible. It also helps you practice ways to breathe and relax.
Prenatal yoga may help you:
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, stop what you’re doing and call your heath provider right away:
Call your provider if you have even one of these signs of preterm labor:
- Contractions that make your belly tighten up like a fist every 10 minutes or more often
- Change in the color of your vaginal discharge, or bleeding from your vagina
- The feeling that your baby is pushing down. This is called pelvic pressure.
- Low, dull backache
- Cramps that feel like your period
- Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
See also: Exercise during pregnancy, Warning signs when to stop exercising and call your health care provider
Last reviewed August 2012
Most common questions
Are there any exercises I should not do during pregnancy?
Yes. Don't do exercises, like riding a bike, that could make you lose your balance. You don't want to fall and hurt yourself or your baby. Don't do activities that have potential for serious injury. These include horseback riding, scuba diving, downhill skiing or a sport in which you could get hit in the stomach. Stay out of saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms, and don't do things that could make you overheated. After your first trimester, keep from doing activities that make you lie flat on your back.
Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
For most women, yes. Unless your health care provider advises you otherwise, sex during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. Some circumstances make sex during pregnancy unsafe. Pregnant women who have any of these health complications should talk to their provider before having sex:
- A history or risk of miscarriage
- A previous preterm birth or other risk factors for preterm birth
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding, discharge or cramping
- Leaking amniotic fluid
- Placenta previa (when the placenta is low and covers the cervix)
- Incompetent cervix (when the cervix is weakened and opens too soon)
Usually, a woman can continue sexual activity during pregnancy as long as she feels comfortable. Talk to your health care provider about any specific questions.