Prenatal yoga: The physical and mental health benefits of staying active during pregnancy

Expecting mothers are urged to stay active during pregnancy. Here's why prenatal yoga is an effective way to help you with fitness.
Benefits of prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga can be beneficial for all expecting mothers. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Kavita Mehta (PT) Published: 27 Jun 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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Being pregnant is indeed an amazing journey full of mixed emotions. It is normal to have joy, apprehensions anxiety and a lot more other feelings at the same time. Therefore, an expectant mother should be relaxed and calm during these most important nine months of her life. Prenatal yoga can help with its many health benefits!

What is prenatal yoga?

Prenatal yoga is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. Studies show that practising yoga during pregnancy is recommended and has multiple health benefits for both the mother and her baby.

Health benefits of prenatal yoga for expecting mothers

1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Prenatal yoga is known for mindful breathing patterns which help the body to relax and discharge tension. One can not avoid all stress but the key is, how to manage it effectively. Practising slow deep breathing helps to reduce mental stress and anxiety by allowing us to distract and disengage from our disturbing thoughts. This helps more oxygen to enter the body, releasing the tension in your muscles, helping to lower heart rate and stabilize blood pressure.

Also read: Safe workouts for pregnant women who may find exercising risky

Stress in pregnancy
Stress can affect a pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Improves sleep

Insomnia or disturbed sleep is a very common issue during pregnancy. Evidence strongly suggests that yoga effectively affects the quality of sleep of pregnant women by increasing melatonin levels, reducing the melting of the mind and calming emotional health. Practising yoga on a regular basis definitely improves aspects of sleep.

3. Promotes connection with the baby

Deep guided relaxation, positive affirmations and visualization practices of prenatal yoga allow the mother to bond with her unborn child. It provides a very calm and serene environment for both mom and baby and it is one of the effective tools to manage labour as well.

4. Prenatal yoga relieves physical discomfort

As the pregnancy grows, the body’s centre of gravity shifts forward, spinal curvature changes, and the growing uterus pushes the rib cage and puts lots of pressure on the pelvic area. All these physical changes add stress on spinal and pelvic muscles and may result in back pain, rib pain, difficulty in walking or pain in the pelvic region. By practising regular back and pelvic strengthening exercises during pregnancy, these symptoms can be controlled up to a great extent.

Also read: Prenatal yoga: Should you perform inversions during pregnancy?

Pregnancy side effects
Pregnancy can cause physical discomfort and prenatal yoga can be helpful. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Better preparation for labour and birth

During labour, a mom needs to be physically fit and mentally relaxed. Prenatal yoga practice makes the body strong and flexible and at the same time, deep breathing practices prepare the mother to cope with the labour stress and anxiety and help her to trust her body.

Last but not least it also helps a mother to recover fast in her postpartum period, reducing chances of postpartum depression and anxiety. Overall, yoga is a healthy practice for each of us but extremely important during pregnancy.


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About the Author

Dr Kavita Mehta (PT) is a prenatal yoga expert, childbirth educator and lactation counsellor. She is currently associated with Rosewalk Healthcare by Rainbow Children’s Hospital. ...Read More

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