Hot Yoga and Pregnancy: Establishing Participation Rates and Areas for Further Investigation

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Emerging research on hyperthermia during pregnancy has demonstrated increased core temperature during pregnancy can result in a range of serious potential health risks for fetal development and maternal health. Hot yoga is an activity that can cause hyperthermia, but the risks and benefits of hot yoga participation during pregnancy are unclear as evidence is lacking. A large cross-sectional study of hot yoga was conducted in 2016 assessing the benefits and potential adverse reactions from participating in hot yoga. In addition to health history, information on hot yoga participation during self-reported previous or current pregnancy was collected from all female participants. Overall, 22 percent (n = 68) of women of who reported current or previous pregnancy (n = 308) had participated in hot yoga at some point during their pregnancy. Women who practiced hot yoga while pregnant were more likely to be under thirty, to view hot yoga as a spiritual practice, not have a pre-existing condition, not have had an adverse outcome while practicing hot yoga, reported fewer physical benefits of practicing hot yoga, make less preparations (hydrating themselves) before a hot yoga class, and make less modifications during a hot yoga class. This study has established that many pregnant women participate in hot yoga during pregnancy. The number of women participating in hot yoga during pregnancy is concerning given the lack of evidence regarding the safety of this behavior. Younger pregnant women who have fewer physical challenges and problems associated with hot yoga may be ignorant to the risks of practicing hot yoga because it is easier for them than women who are older and have had challenges in a hot yoga class or have a pre-existing condition. It is vital to determine whether pregnant women, yoga instructors, and yoga studios are aware of the potential risks of hot yoga participation during pregnancy and how awareness and adherence to medical advice can be increased.


This article was originally published in The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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The International Journal of Health, Wellness, and Society


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