Monday, September 16, 2013
Four Reasons Why Prenatal Yoga Is Great For Expecting Women
Yoga is a great way for women to stay fit during pregnancy. In addition to keeping a woman strong and focused, it might be surprising to know that yoga is also a great way to prepare for labor.
For instance, did you know that yoga:
1. Decrease pain: "Researchers at the University of Utah presented preliminary results from a study of varied participants' responses to pain. They note that people who have a poorly regulated response to stress are also more sensitive to pain. Their subjects were 12 experienced yoga practitioners, 14 people with fibromyalgia (a condition many researchers consider a stress-related illness that is characterized by hypersensitivity to pain), and 16 healthy volunteers.
When the three groups were subjected to more or less painful thumbnail pressure, the participants with fibromyalgia — as expected — perceived pain at lower pressure levels compared with the other subjects. Functional MRIs showed they also had the greatest activity in areas of the brain associated with the pain response. In contrast, the yoga practitioners had the highest pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity during the MRI. The study underscores the value of techniques, such as yoga, that can help a person regulate their stress and, therefore, pain responses." (See the full study at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/April/Yoga-for-anxiety-and-depressionl)
2. Improves birth weight: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published an article showing "an integrated approach to yoga during pregnancy is safe. It improves birth weight, decreases preterm labor, and decreases IUGR either in isolation or associated with PIH, with no increased complications."(See the full study at: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2005.11.237?journalCode=acm&)
3. Reduces depression and anxiety: In a study published by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, it compared "the effects of yoga (physical activity) versus social support (verbal activity) on prenatal and postpartum depression. Ninety-two prenatally depressed women were randomly assigned to a yoga or a social support control group at 22 weeks gestation. At the end of the first and last sessions the yoga group reported less depression, anxiety, anger, back and leg pain as compared to the social support group." (See the full study at: http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592(13)00059-4/abstract)
4. Lowers hypertension-related complications in high-risk pregnancies: In a study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine, showed "significantly fewer hypertension-related complications were found in the yoga group, significantly fewer SGA and babies with low APGAR scores were noted in the yoga group and suggests yoga to be a promising preventive therapy in high-risk pregnancy." (See the full study at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743512003301)
In addition to the above, yoga can also improve sleep, increase strength, flexibility, create body awareness, help babies get into the perfect birthing position and help with carpal tunnel.