According to the Huffington Post, prenatal yoga not only lowers stress levels but contributes to an overall healthier pregnancy. Prenatal yoga relies on gentle exercises that focus on building strength, stamina and flexibility in preparation for childbirth. Many exercises also help to relieve tension, in the lower back, that builds up due to the growing weight of the infant.
The primary benefit of prenatal yoga is to reduce stress and teach awareness of the body. Focusing on deep breathing exercises and meditation helps expectant mothers decompress. As FitPregnancy points out, prenatal yoga reduces the risk of prenatal depression, improves sleep and decreases back pain and nausea. Prenatal yoga has also been shown to reduce the risk of preterm labor and intrauterine growth restriction. The Mayo Clinic also points out that prenatal yoga classes can be used as a social outlet to meet and socialize with other expecting mothers.
The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding more intense yoga styles like Bikram which can cause hyperthermia, instead advising pregnant women to focus on yoga specifically designed for them. As always, it is important to stay cool and hydrated while exercising. Pregnant women should also avoid certain poses that put pressure on their abdomens, asking instructors to provide modifications of poses if necessary.