Downward Dog And Other Poses Get The Thumbs-Up During Pregnancy : Shots - Health News Moms-to-be who practice prenatal yoga say it reduces stress, anxiety and even pain. A study finds that even poses once thought to be off limits to pregnant women are safe.

Say Yes To Down Dog: More Yoga Poses Are Safe During Pregnancy

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And we're also tracking universal matters of life and death. That includes decisions that parents make about pregnancy and childbirth. In a moment, we're going to hear about hard decisions in pediatric intensive care. We start with pregnant women trying to exercise safely. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports on a new study of yoga.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Rachael Polis is a doctor who practices yoga - or, put another way, she's a yogi who happens to practice medicine.

RACHAEL POLIS: Yoga has always played an integral role in my life.

AUBREY: But when it came to advising patients about prenatal yoga, she says there have been lots of questions. Some yoga teachers tell pregnant women to avoid certain poses, such as one called happy baby. That's where you lie on your back and hold your feet. Polis wanted to know why. Why were women being given this advice?

POLIS: I wasn't able to find any evidence-based studies.

AUBREY: So she did her own study. She recruited 25 healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies. They were hooked up to fetal heart-rate monitors as they moved through 26 poses. The women's vital signs were measured too, and Polis says what she found is that all these poses seem just fine.

POLIS: We found that these four postures, they were really well tolerated by women in our study.

AUBREY: And then they looked at the fetal heartbeat.

POLIS: Because we had them on continuous monitoring, you know, we could see that the fetal heart rate remained normal.

AUBREY: And there were no signs of contractions. Now, a note of caution here - Polis says pregnant women should check with their OB-GYN to make sure there are no complications before deciding to hit the yoga mat. Allison Aubrey, NPR News.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.