Pregnant women can practice prenatal yoga to improve their mental well-being

Prenatal yoga can reduce stress and anxiety that can come from pregnancy.

There is a large amount of research connecting depression, anxiety and stress during pregnancy to negative fetal and maternal health implications. For example, untreated anxiety during pregnancy is associated with shorter gestational periods and negative impacts on the child’s neurodevelopment. Stress, in the forms of chronic strain and depression, during pregnancy, is also associated with low infant birth weights and infant development consequences. The importance of mental health for pregnant women has been thoroughly considered by Michigan State University Extension. You can find more details in this article.

To promote the health of mothers and babies during the gestational period we looked to pre-natal yoga, a rising U.S. health trend that current research is supporting. According to researchers more than 21 million people in the U.S. practice yoga, many are women of reproductive age. Yoga is a mind-body practice composed of postures, breath work, and meditation, among other things. Prenatal yoga is comprised of poses specific for pregnant women to increase strength, stability and flexibility. This practice has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, unsound sleep and lower back pain in expecting women. The Mayo Clinic agrees that prenatal yoga is safe for healthy pregnant women, and it also helps build social bonds among pregnant mothers.

At a group prenatal yoga class, mothers learn to practice slow and deep breathing, which can help to reduce shortness of breath during pregnancy and can help them get through contractions during birth. They learn how to do gentle stretches and experience yoga poses aimed at developing strength, flexibility and balance. Other beneficial skills include learning to relax by releasing muscle tension, lowering resting heart rate and practicing self-awareness of emotions, thoughts, and building inner peace. 

It should be noted that not all yoga poses and practices are safe for expecting mothers and vary based on trimester. Some poses and breath practices such as hot yoga should be avoided during pregnancy. To learn more about the safety precautions, it is critical to talk to your doctor before starting any prenatal yoga practices. 

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