Saturday, 28 May 2016

Science of Yoga in Pregnancy

Yoga, an ancient practice has many proven benefits. For this post, let us focus on how Yoga helps pregnant mothers.

Belly, Pregnant Woman, Close Up, Cute Pregnant Belly
Image by |Pixabay

In pregnancy, we commonly encounter patients with problem such as diabetes mellitus, hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, back pain, and depression among many others.

Focusing on the common problem, let us see how Yoga can help expecting mothers to have a safe journey towards motherhood. 

1.Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Let's look at gestational diabetes mellitus for example. It is high blood sugar level during pregnancy that usually goes away after the childbirth. A randomized controlled trial by Youngwanichsetha et al  proves that performing yoga 50 minutes per session 5 times a week for 8 weeks reduced the blood glucose level significantly(both fasting and post-prandial). It's not entirely certain how yoga helps in blood sugar reduction but it's worth trying!

2. Postpartum Depression


"Significant reduction in depression symptoms after 8 weeks of Yoga"

Woman, Pregnant, Pier, Belly, Maternity, Pretty, PoseYoga is also beneficial for post-partum depression. It's essential to understand the difference between post-partum blues and post-partum depression. In contrary to "baby blues" which happens in 80% of new mothers, postpartum depression is more severe and happens to only some mothers.

In post-partum depression, the sad feelings last more than 2 weeks and can even be accompanied with suicidal thoughts. Buttner MM studied 57 new mothers with postpartum depression and found that after 8 weeks of  yoga, the depression symptoms became significantly lesser.

3. Back pain

Back pain is commonly experienced by mothers during pregnancy.  This is mainly because of the stress put on the spine of mothers by the growing baby. So, as the baby grows more and more stress is put on the spine.

Sitting with a maternity pillow, maintaining a good posture help in reducing the strain on the spine. Good news for those who do yoga, as yoga is proven to help reducing back pain during pregnancy as well!

"One hour yoga per week improves back pain"

Beautiful Young, Pregnant Woman, In BeachResearchers from the UNICAMP School of Medicine in Brazil did a randomized controlled trial looking at impact of yoga in reducing back pain during pregnancy. They studied 60 mothers who were complaining of back pain from week 12, and concluded that yoga indeed does help in reducing severity of pain. These women only performed yoga for one hour per week and saw improvement in their back pain.

There are several websites for yoga beginners. Check it out and start practicing this ancient exercise with scientifically proven benefits!

I personally like this blog, as it has catered a whole section for beginners!

This youtube video specifically talks about how to perform yoga in pregnancy. Check this out too! 


There are certainly many benefits of practising yoga, especially during pregnancy as the evidence suggests. Be sure to attend classes by certified yoga teacher to benefit from this ancient art of health!

For further reading

1. Diabetes in Pregnancy and Yoga


2. Depression and Yoga

3. Backpain and Yoga