Can You Do Hot Yoga During Pregnancy?

pregnant woman doing yoga

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Whether or not hot yoga is safe to practice while pregnant is up for debate among prenatal health and yoga experts. More often than not, pregnancy advice tends to err on the side of caution with the experts recommending to discontinue hot yoga during pregnancy.

Choosing to refrain from a potentially risky activity during pregnancy, such as hot yoga, is never a bad decision. However, for some women after a discussion with their obstetrical provider and making certain modifications may be able to consider continuing their hot yoga practice.

If you have been practicing hot yoga regularly leading up to your pregnancy, it very well may be safe to continue. Understanding potential risks and following expert recommendations can help you make the best decision for yourself and your unborn child.

Risks of Hot Yoga During Pregnancy

Hot yoga safety during pregnancy should be considered carefully. If you are recently pregnant and new to the hot yoga scene, yoga experts and prenatal care providers agree that postponing your practice until after the baby is born is most likely best.

Unfamiliarity with the hot yoga process—including how to regulate your temperature and safely modify your poses—could increase the chance of injury or harm.

Hot Yoga Risks

  • Typical hot yoga rooms have temps ranging from 90 to 108 degrees so there is potential for participants to experience dehydration and a dangerous elevation to their core body temperature.
  • Overheating in the first trimester, which occurs when your body temperature goes above 102 degrees for more than 10 minutes can lead to neural tube defects and miscarriage.
  • Pregnant individuals bear extra weight, and their muscles and tendons loosen, so they run an increased chance of injury in a hot yoga class where the warmer temps also enhance flexibility.
  • Blood pressure tends to be on the low side in the first trimester of pregnancy due to progesterone relaxing blood vessel walls. Excessive heat exposure could lead to dizziness and fainting.

For newer yogis, traditional yoga (with modifications) or prenatal yoga classes are a safe and suitable choice.  

Prenatal Yoga Is a Safer Choice

Prenatal yoga, facilitated by a well-trained instructor, is designed to meet the physical (possibly even emotional, spiritual, and mental) needs specific to the pregnant experience. Amanda DeGrace, owner of Little Lotus Yoga, specializes in prenatal, mom and baby, and family yoga.

“Pregnancy is a great time to start to really nourish and nurture within,” Degrace says. From her perspective, prenatal yoga is an ideal way to do so. “We highly recommend a prenatal yoga class during pregnancy that is done in a regular temperature room.”  

Though she doesn't recommend hot yoga during pregnancy, DeGrace does believe individuals who have practiced hot yoga for an extended period of time might be safe to carry on doing so (with modifications, guidance from a certified yoga instructor, and under the advisement of their healthcare provider).

DeGrace also pointed out how "common pregnancy sensations, such as nausea, can often have even the most dedicated hot yogi student looking for a change of pace."

Even if hot yoga was your go-to pre-pregnancy, it may not feel the same during pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is a good alternative that allows you to nurture yourself and take care of your body as it continues to change and grow.

Prenatal Yoga Can Be Energetic

If you've decided to put your hot yoga practice on hold but still want more of an active workout, don’t fret. There are lots of poses you can do in a room that is not heated to help invigorate your yoga practice. DeGrace suggests sun salutations and warrior series for those looking to maintain an energetic and dynamic yoga practice.

Choosing to Continue Hot Yoga

According to birth doula and prenatal yoga teacher Natalie Edward, if you hope to continue taking part in hot yoga during pregnancy, you may do so safely as long as the following apply and your care provider is on board:

  • You were practicing hot yoga prior to becoming pregnant. 
  • Your pregnancy is low-risk and there are no health concerns.
  • You know how to modify your practice for pregnancy.

Hot yoga can provide a great workout, including such benefits as stress relief, improved muscle tone, and increased blood flow to the legs and arms. According to Edward, there are some personal benefits to continuing to practice such as being able to maintain a routine that supports your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

During her own pregnancies, Edward continued to practice hot yoga. Her training as a yoga teacher made it easy for her to modify poses to suit her changing body. For example, Edward did malasana (squat-pose) instead of forward fold and avoided reclined twists and deep core work.

“I found it [hot yoga] helped me stay more in tune with my body, even more than before pregnancy," Edward says.

Of course, staying in tune meant honoring the need to set her own pace. "Toward the end of my pregnancies, I noticed that I had to move at a much slower pace than the rest of the class just because transitioning between poses took longer with a larger belly," she says.

Tips for a Safe Hot Yoga Practice

If you would like to continue your hot yoga practice, while pregnant, Edward offers the following tips on how to do so safely and without overheating:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before class, during, and after.
  • Listen to your body and take rests as often and as long as needed. 
  • Stick with slower-paced vinyasa/flow practices in a space that is no hotter than 93.2 degrees.

If you continue to practice hot yoga, make sure you have considered the risks and recommendations of experts you trust. Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being and the health of your growing baby are of the utmost importance. Speak to your healthcare provider and yoga teacher to ensure that continuing your hot yoga practice is the right choice for you.

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. FAQs Exercise During Pregnancy: What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?.

  2. Chan J, Natekar A, Koren G. Hot yoga and pregnancy: fitness and hyperthermiaCan Fam Physician. 2014;60(1):41-42.

  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Yoga: what you need to know.

  4. The Nemours Foundation. Pregnancy precautions: FAQs.

By Shannon Day
Shannon Day is a freelance writer specializing in parenting, lifestyle, and women's humor. She has been published in several online parenting and lifestyle sites as well as in print. Shannon is also the co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?!