Is prenatal yoga safe with placenta previa?

Written by meghan klassen
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Is prenatal yoga safe with placenta previa?
Prenatal yoga is a gentle form of exercise. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Placenta previa (or low-lying placenta) should not prevent a pregnant woman from practicing prenatal yoga. However, women with placenta previa should refrain from doing postures that place pressure on the uterus, such as squats and twists. Women with placenta previa who are in their third trimester should consult their health practitioner before practicing yoga.

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What is placenta previa?

Placenta previa is a condition in which a pregnant woman's placenta partially or completely covers the opening of her cervix. Placenta previa generally develops in the second trimester and can resolve itself before delivery. Complications only arise in the third trimester, when the position of the placenta blocks the cervix and makes a safe vaginal delivery impossible. Placenta previa occurs in approximately one out of every 200 deliveries. The cause of placenta previa is unknown.

Safe poses for women with placenta previa

The extended triangle pose is safe for women with placenta previa. To perform this pose, stand with feet hips-distance apart and arms raised out to the sides (parallel to the floor), with palms down. Turn the left foot in slightly, and turn the right foot 90 degrees out to the right. Align the right knee and the centre of right ankle. Extend your torso to the right, over right leg, bending from the hip joint. Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or on the floor outside the right foot. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling.

Hero pose

To perform the Hero pose, kneel on the floor with thighs perpendicular to the floor and knees touching. Slide feet apart slightly wider than hip-distance with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Sit back halfway, with your torso leaning slightly forward. Place your thumbs into the backs of your knees. Sit down between your feet and lay your hands on top of each other in you lap or on your thighs, with palms facing up.

Cat pose

To perform the Cat pose, start with your hands and knees on a mat in a "tabletop" position. Position your knees directly below your hips. Align elbows and shoulders perpendicular to the floor. Center your head in a neutral position, gazing at the floor. Round your spine toward the ceiling and release your head toward the floor. Then, return to the neutral "tabletop" position on hands and knees.

Yoga and placenta previa

Light prenatal yoga is considered safe for women with placenta previa prior to the third trimester. Three safe poses have been listed here. However, in general, women with placenta previa in their third trimester should consult their health practitioner before practicing yoga, and they should avoid yoga poses that compress the abdomen or place pressure on the uterus, such as squats and twists.

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