Pregnant women might find the idea of yoga practice a little daunting, especially the idea of bending, stretching and challenging flexibility. However, a new study suggests that yoga reduces stress in moms-to-be. And as anyone knows, if mom is less likely to be suffering from anxiety then baby is more likely to be happy too!
You don’t have to meditate for hours to experience the deep relaxation and stress-busting benefits of yoga. The poses and movements of yoga practice leave you feeling balanced and in harmony, while promoting a mind-body connection and a sense of wellbeing. Exercise that incorporates yoga moves can help relieve stress by helping reduce pent-up anxiety in your body and mind by boosting your circulation and energy levels, promoting the release of feel-good neurotransmitters and through the benefits of deep breathing.
Two Things to Keep in mind:
Pregnancy can be stressful
There’s not doubt about it that pregnancy can put an enormous amount of physical and emotional strain on a woman. There is the challenging of supporting and nurturing the healthy development of an unborn child,and all the changes to the body that brings. On top of this, there are a raft of what can often be happy and anxiety-driven emotions, ranging from depression due to hormonal changes to worrying about coping with a newborn.
Relieving pregnancy stress can help baby
An exercise system that can make moms-to-be feel less anxious is not only great for the woman herself but could help look after the wellbeing of her unborn child too. Dr James Newham, who conducted a study at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Center at the University of Manchester, in the UK, suggests less stress in pregnant women is beneficial to their babies too.
“There is a growing body of evidence that maternal antenatal anxiety may increase the risk of pre-term delivery and the likelihood of giving birth to a low birth weight child. If we can reduce these risk factors, and perhaps reduce the rate of post-natal mood disorders in mothers and negative health outcomes in their offspring, then that can only be a good thing.”
The British study involved 59 first-time pregnant women who reported on how they felt; their emotional state. While part of the group practices yoga once a week for eight weeks, some of the women didn’t.
Not only did the study suggest changes to women’s anxiety levels after the eight weeks but even after just one session of yoga. After one week anxiety dropped by a third in the yoga group, with stress hormone levels falling by 14%.
A study that backs-up anecdotal evidence
Many pregnant women have practiced yoga and felt that this practice has benefited them. However, this research is important in backing up this anecdotal evidence. As Professor John Aplin, from the University of Manchester, emphasizes, “Yoga incorporates relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that can be adapted for pregnant women. Many women opt to practise yoga during their pregnancy but this is the first worldwide report on the effects of both single and multiple sessions of ante-natal yoga on mood.”
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