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5 Benefits of Practicing Prenatal Yoga and their connection to Labor and Childbirth

Expert Tips: Health and fitness

5 Benefits of Practicing Prenatal Yoga and their connection to Labor and Childbirth

In Jennifer Wolfe’s work as a doula and a prenatal yoga instructor over the last 8 years, 350+ births, and thousands of prenatal yoga students, I have noticed a trend. Most women who regularly attend yoga classes while pregnant, have faster and less painful birth experiences.

Of course there have been many exceptions and circumstances that increase length and intensity of labor, but the correlation is too great to ignore or write off as just coincidence.

Here are the top 5 reasons Jennifer believes this to be so:

1. The focus and connection with the breath allows a woman to tap into the rhythm of their bodies and work with them instead of fighting them.

2. Yoga can increase lung capacity allowing the woman to take deeper, longer breaths, which bring oxygen to the baby and mom, making contractions feel shorter and more manageable. A woman in a yoga class is encouraged not to hold her breath and tense up but to breathe deeply and right into the tension. When a woman is tense the contractions can feel much more intense.

3. Women who do prenatal yoga tend to have more stamina (especially when practicing styles such as Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga which builds strength and flexibility while staying focused on the breath and on releasing tension); therefore they can go a longer time without pain medication. Typically getting pain medication slows down labor.

4. Prenatal yoga releases endorphins, or “feel good” hormones, which she becomes accustomed to feeling while practicing yoga. These same hormones are released in labor and are much more identifiable to women who have been practicing yoga.

5. Practicing a relaxation at the end of class helps women to get familiar with what their bodies feel like when they are comfortable and free of tension. It also gives them a practice of staying in the moment and focused.

By Jennifer Wolfe, Doula, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Hypnotherapist.
Jennifer has attend nearly 350 births as a Doula and worked with thousands of
Prenatal Yoga Students.

Jennifer is the creator of the popular Prenatal Yoga DVD: Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga
Learn More about her at or

March 26, 2009 Bookmark and Share

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