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26 Yoga Moves Get the Green Light for Pregnancy Workouts

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Shocker: We're big proponents of working out during pregnancy. It's even possible to have a six-pack while pregnant! And yoga is a great way to break a sweat without a ton of impact or super intense cardio—although some standard poses, like child's pose, corpse pose, downward-facing dog, and happy baby, were considered potentially harmful during pregnancy.

Well, we've got good news for fit moms-to-be who like to get their om on: Women can safely practice at least 26 different yoga poses during the latest stage of their pregnancy, according to a small study published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. (Add this to our list of 30 Reasons Why We Love Yoga.)

Fit moms-to-be, rejoice! Your pregnancy workouts can now include these four poses (as well as 22 others) safely without any harm to you or your baby, says Rachel L. Polis, DO, study author and fellow in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, KY. (Check out 30 Reasons Why We Love Yoga.)

In the study, researched observed women who were 35 to 38 weeks pregnant as they held 26 postures for two minutes each. The poses chosen were ones most often found in a typical yoga class, and every position involved standing, sitting, or moving while lying on your back. Participants were challenged to twist, balance, bend, and stretch, but they did not try anything that required them to go upside down or lose stability, says Rachel L. Polis, study author and fellow in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, KY. The researchers monitored maternal vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate, looked for contractions, and censored fetal heart rate. "No acute adverse changes in either mom or baby were identified in any posture," says Polis, and patients also gave verbal feedback on how they felt during the exercises—feedback which was almost exclusively positive, Polis adds.

The bottom line: Your go-to moves—warrior I and II, mountain pose, chair pose, tree pose, eagle pose, downward-facing dog, and cat pose, for example—get the green light. "Postures that placed pressure on the abdomen (supine positions) and inversion postures (like headstands or handstand) were excluded due to potential fall risk," says Polis, so nix those until after your baby's born. (To torch post-baby calories super fast, try The Yoga Workout That Tones with Dumbbells.) And if you're feeling a little tired out during your practice, feel free to go into child's pose or corpse pose—they're safe too!

Check out the full list of approved poses:
1. Easy pose, Sukhasana
2. Seated forward bend Paschimottanasana
3. Cat pose, Marjaryasana
4. Cow pose, Bitlasana
5. Mountain pose, Tadasana
6. Warrior I, Virabhadrasana I
7. Standing forward bend, Uttanasana
8. Warrior II, Virabhadrasana II
9. Chair pose, Utkatasana
10. Extended side angle pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana
11. Extended triangle pose, Utthita Trikonasana
12. Warrior III, Virabhadrasana III
13. Upward salute, Urdhva Hastasana
14. Tree pose, Vrksasana
15. Garland pose, Malasana
16. Eagle pose, Garudasana
17. Downward facing dog, Ado Mukha Svasana 
18. Child’s pose, Balasana
19. Half moon pose, Ardha Chandrasana
20. Bound angle pose, Baddha Konasana
21. Hero pose, Virasana
22. Camel pose, Ustrasana
23. Leg up wall pose, Viparita Karani
24. Happy baby pose, Ananda Balasana
25. Lord of the fishes pose, Ardha Matsyendrasana
26. Corpse pose, Shavasana


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