Prenatal yoga poses can ease stress, facilitate childbirth

For expectant mothers, planning for childbirth can be a dizzying time. They may be asking: "When should I be prepared for labor to begin? Will Lamaze classes help? What should I truly expect when I'm expecting?" For pregnant women who don't know where to begin, taking a class and learning some prenatal yoga poses may be a good idea.

As a de-stressing regimen, yoga is nearly unparalleled. It's been that way for thousands of years. And when it comes to giving birth, most women will do nearly anything to reduce their stress.

As with Lamaze techniques, most prenatal yoga poses emphasize the importance of deep breathing, stretching, and loosening the limbs and joints. This is one of the reasons why yoga can be so effective for mothers to be: it utilizes the body's natural pain-management system to keep aches and anxiety at bay.

Does science back this up? Does it ever. Prenatal yoga, even the third trimester, can help you ease your tension and discomfort, according to several clinical investigations.

One of them, published in in the journal Midwifery, found that women who engage in several months of prenatal yoga experience less discomfort prior to giving birth. The report also noted that these women were more likely to meet their efficiency expectations during delivery.

Another study, this one appearing in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, determined that women who did yoga during their three trimesters tended to have children of a healthy weight.

Likewise, these yoga-using volunteers were less likely to experience pre-term birth or prenatal hypertension, the authors said.

A report published in the Archives of Women's Mental Health added that those who use yoga during the third trimester of pregnancy appear to be less likely to experience anxiety or negative affect.

Every little bit helps, right? If you are expecting a baby, you might do well to look for prenatal yoga classes in the Chicago area.

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