Expectant moms who practice yoga may have an easier birth, study suggests
04/04/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Pregnant women may find yoga beneficial. A study suggests that prenatal yoga can help reduce labor pain and potentially improve birth outcomes. It is also a safe and easy-to-learn mind-body therapy.

Published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the study looked at the effectiveness of prenatal yoga exercises in alleviating labor pain and improving birth outcomes. In conducting the study, researchers from India enrolled 200 first-time pregnant women aged 20 to 35 years old. The expectant moms were at their 30th week of pregnancy and had no experience in yoga.

The researchers divided the participants into two groups: a yoga group and a control group. The yoga group performed 30 minutes of yoga from their 30th to their 39th week of pregnancy, while the control group did not perform yoga. Then, the researchers assessed the delivery for maternal comfort, alleviation of labor pain, and birth outcome.

The results of the study revealed that pregnant women who practiced yoga experienced significantly reduced labor induction and used lesser analgesics compared to those who did not perform yoga. The researchers also recorded more normal vaginal deliveries and less cesarean sections, as well as a shorter first stage of labor in the yoga group compared to the control group.

Participants in the yoga group also had better pain tolerance and experienced higher maternal comfort than the control group. In addition, they were more likely to have a healthy baby, as the researchers recorded a significantly fewer number of low birth weight babies. Moreover, yoga did not cause any side effects, an indication that it is safe for pregnant women.


From these findings, the researchers concluded that yoga is a safe and easy-to-learn mind-body therapy and complementary health practice for effectively reducing labor pain and potentially improving birth outcomes.

Other benefits of prenatal yoga

Practicing yoga during pregnancy also offers the following benefits:

  • Supports body changes during pregnancy: The body always undergoes changes, even more so during pregnancy, and needs help adjusting and compensating. Prenatal yoga can help with this as it is designed to support the changes that occur in a pregnant body. This form of therapy involves safe movements that help ease the process of supporting a growing belly.
  • Tones muscles: Prenatal yoga involves movements that tone the muscles of pregnant women, especially their pelvic floor, hip, and abdominal core muscles, in preparation for the birthing process. Pregnant women experience aches and pains, but these can be minimized by building and maintaining muscles – which can also be helpful in bringing back the body to a toned condition after giving birth.
  • Promotes connection with the baby: Practicing yoga can also be a way of bonding with your growing baby.
  • Relieves common pregnancy complaints: Practicing yoga can help relieve common pregnancy discomforts like carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, insomnia, lower back pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. With yoga, these can be relieved. Stretching and toning muscles can improve blood flow throughout the body, while deep breathing can bring oxygen to your baby and to your muscles. Yoga, particularly mindfulness yoga, can also help improve the mental health of pregnant moms by relieving depression. Mindfulness yoga is a type of yoga that combines physical poses with meditation practices. (Related: Explore the Many Physical and Mental Benefits of Yoga.)
  • Improves social health: In addition to physical health, prenatal yoga can also improve the social well-being of pregnant women. Pregnant moms who join prenatal yoga classes are more likely to be socially healthy. A prenatal yoga class could become a pregnancy support group of sorts. Expectant moms can share and connect with other expectant moms on their pregnancy journey, which could help ease their anxiety about motherhood.

Read more news stories and studies on yoga and its many health benefits by going to HealingArts.news.

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