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Study: Practicing Prenatal Yoga Improves Maternal Comfort, Reduces Length of Labor

Originally posted October 22, 2012.

Prenatal Yoga: A Mindbody Practice to Benefit Your Pregnancy

As a pregnant woman looking looking for a safe, mindbody, self-help way to improve your comfort levels and shorten your birthing time, check out prenatal yoga! Check out the results of this study!

In 2008, 66 pregnant women were randomized into two groups of 33. The experimental group underwent 6 one-hour classes of prenatal yoga, inclusive of asana (yoga poses), breathwork and meditation, from gestation weeks 26 – 37. This group was also practiced yoga at home 2 -3x a week, integrating the asana, breathwork and meditation learned in class. This group kept a diary of their prenatal yoga practice as well.

The control group received regular scheduled prenatal care, during which the researchers conversed with them for approximately 20 – 30 minutes at each visit.

When it came time for the women to give birth, the researchers used 4 different measurements of comfort, pain and length of labor.

The researchers found:

the women who had practiced prenatal yoga experienced significantly higher maternal comfort during labor and two hours post-labor,

although both groups experienced high pain levels, the labor, the yoga group experienced significant and consistent lower pain scores than the control group,

the first stage of labor was significantly shorter for the women in the yoga group, although second stage labor was comparable for both groups.

Your yoga teacher should be specifically certified in Prenatal Yoga. The teachers should know how to use all kinds of props: from mats to blocks, bolsters, straps and blankets to make every pose accessible for every woman.

Attending a prenatal yoga class helps you adjust to your changes and compensate for your growing belly and the way you move differently on a daily basis. It’s great preparation for labor and birth for body and mind.

Your teacher should teach you breathing for relaxation in addition to breathing for energy. These skills will help you remain calm and flexible in your emotional state throughout the birthing process.

Practice self-care and reduce stress by taking time just for yourself and your baby with prenatal yoga.

Look for a reputable prenatal class nearby you. The business should be properly credentialed to teach yoga and the teacher should be specifically certified in prenatal yoga.


Robertshawe, P. (2009). Effects of yoga on maternal comfort, labor pain and birth outcomes. Journal Of The Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 15(2), 81.


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