Yoga has been shown to be beneficial for women during her pregnancy. When it comes to labor and delivery, usually the most anxiety-provoking aspects of pregnancy, many women spend weeks, if not months, fretting over whether they’ll be able to deliver the baby. But women who develop a prenatal yoga practice before giving birth may learn how to minimize anxiety over labor.
Prenatal Yoga Gives Women More Control
Women stay in control of their bodies even during the most physically painful parts of the process. Regular prenatal yoga practice with the high self-efficacy contributes to smoother deliveries. Any kind of learned behavior of relaxation, breathing, or concentrating on a focal point can help.
Prenatal Yoga Allows the Body’s Muscles to Relax
Prenatal yoga is one way to help women access deep stores of emotional strength and confidence that they can put to use during contractions and pushing the baby out of the womb. Poses like a deep squat can help relax and open the hips, providing control over strong, toned pelvic and hip muscles so they won’t tense up when under stress.
Prenatal Yoga Increases Physical Stamina
Yoga’s other benefits during labor include helping increase a pregnant woman’s physical stamina if labor lasts a long time (though regular yoga practice has also been shown to shorten the length of labor by as much as two hours). The increased stamina comes from the physical discipline required to hold postures long enough to get strength-building benefits. It also comes from the mental focus that results from yoga’s concentration on breathing exercises that help the lungs expand to their full capacity which can feel challenging in late pregnancy.
Prenatal Yoga Can Improve a Baby’s Birth Position
Yoga poses may also help optimize the baby’s position for birth, by allowing the pelvic bones and ligaments to open and move apart from each other. This allows the baby’s head to find more room to nestle at the bottom of the uterus as birth nears. Some yoga poses, like pelvic tilts, might even encourage a breech or posterior birth baby to turn into the head-down position that most hospitals require for a vaginal birth.
Early pregnancy complication such as sleep disturbances, headache, morning sickness, back ache also improved with prenatal yoga exercise.