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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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ANIMAL CARE
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BONES & JOINTS
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CANCER
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CAREGIVING
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Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
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CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
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DENTAL, ORAL
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Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
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'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
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DIET, NUTRITION
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Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
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EYE CARE, VISION
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FITNESS
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Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
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GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
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GENERAL HEALTH
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HEAD & NECK
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Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
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HEARING
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
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INFECTIOUS DISEASE
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INFERTILITY
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KID'S HEALTH
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MEN'S HEALTH
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MENTAL HEALTH
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PAIN
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PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
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SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
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WOMEN'S HEALTH
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Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women

Yoga is safe for pregnant women, as long as they approach the activity with reasonable caution and moderation, experts say.

"Women who are expecting can benefit greatly from exercise, especially yoga -- they just need to be aware of their limitations," orthopaedic surgeon and mom-to-be Dr. Rachel Rohde said in a news release issued by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

"A pregnant woman's body goes through a lot of changes that will alter the way she practices yoga, whether she is a veteran or a beginner," Rohde added.

As a fitness alternative, yoga allows pregnant women to maintain an exercise program without harming their baby or their heart, according to the AAOS and, overall, the benefits of such a low-impact regimen outweigh the risks.

However, maintaining correct yoga positioning is critical to ensuring general safety and avoiding muscle or joint injury, the organization pointed out. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that more than 5,500 Americans were treated for yoga-related injuries in 2008.

Nevertheless, the AAOS says that if performed properly, yoga affords expectant mothers a good opportunity to build strength and flexibility, while achieving a measure of relaxation and breath control.

"One of the best aspects of yoga is being in control of your body and having the ability to do each movement at your own pace," said Rodhe. "Poses like 'downward dog' that require a lot of pressure on the palm can increase carpal tunnel symptoms by pressing on a major nerve; if you get numbness in your fingers while in one of these positions, move so that the weight is not resting on your hands. If you are unable to move into a difficult position, you always have the option to get into a resting pose if experiencing pain."

The AAOS recommends that those interested in practicing yoga should consult their physician first and make sure they work with a qualified instructor. Proper warm-ups and attire are important as well, and pregnant women should take care to remain properly hydrated and avoid forms of yoga such as Birkam -- also called "hot" yoga -- that can unduly raise their body temperature.

SOURCES: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, news release, May 17, 2010 Published on: May 23, 2010