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Study Looks To Provide Consensus On Yoga Poses And Pregnancy

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For women who are pregnant and practice yoga, there's conflicting advice about safety. A new study tries to clarify that. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

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've 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 seemed just fine.

POLIS: We found that these four postures - they were really well-tolerated by, you know, 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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.