It has been said that yoga builds strength, opens the hips, helps women get in touch with their bodies and teaches relaxation techniques for mothers-to-be.
Melissa Paz, who attended prenatal yoga classes during her pregnancy, agrees that yoga helps pregnant women, prepare for labor in a number of ways.
Cara McCune, who is in her twenty second week of pregnancy, says “I think of yoga like a massage that lasts longer than therapy, because it leaves you physically calmer than regular exercises.” She plans to continue her classes twice a week until delivery.
Though several medical studies have indicated the positive influence of prenatal yoga on both mother and the child, current researches reveal more promising results. Two recent studies indicate that Prenatal Yoga has been found to be even better than walking, when it comes to preventing premature labour and increasing birth weight.
Janice Sack-Ory, a prenatal yoga teacher and a mid-wife, is of the opinion that “it prepares women not only to deal with changes in their pregnant body, but also the changes of their emotions and energy, apart from the actual birth”. She is of the opinion that the classes help expecting mothers to form communities and exchange views and opinions.
Sack-ory and Paz, agree that though the classes may vary, prenatal yoga classes often do not include strenuous poses, but focus on gentle exercises that stretch, strengthen and open up the hips, which helps prepare for labor. Even a woman without a history with yoga, could begin during pregnancy, provided the doctor is kept informed about it.