It’s hardly a surprise to us yogis – pregnant or not – but now UK researchers have found the first evidence that yoga during pregnancy can help keep women stress free and reduce the risk of them developing anxiety and depression.
While it has long been assumed by medical professionals that yoga can help reduce stress levels in mothers, it had never been tested in a research setting. But in a paper recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, academics, from Manchester and Newcastle Universities, show that women who attended a yoga class a week for eight weeks had decreased anxiety scores compared to the control group who received normal antenatal treatment.
The professors say that the research project also shows evidence that yoga can reduce the need for pain relief during birth and the likelihood for delivery by emergency caesarean section:
“Perhaps we should be looking at providing yoga classes on the NHS. It would be relatively cheap to implement, could help mothers and their children be healthier, as well as reducing the costs of longer term health care.”
Now that would be a brilliant idea for the Danish regions too.
It’s probably no surprise that this yogi has been doing prenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy. I started at Yogamudra at 10 weeks with no bump at all, tried Nalini and Sattva and ended up at YoJo at (whale size) the end of my pregnancy (I recommend them all). The rest has taken place in my yoga room at home (which is now a storage room due to the new member of the family). And now 9 days before my due date I’m still stretching (and teaching) – and still doing relatively alright climbing the stairs to our 5th floor flat. I am yet to find out if yoga can reduce pain during birth, but I have a strong belief that relaxation and pranayama will. And I can’t wait to test it all out.
Photos by Amanda Thomsen at Crossfit Copenhagen.