I joined my friend today who is pregnant for her prenatal yoga class. It was relaxing and peaceful and it was interesting to hear about why yoga is good for pregnant woman and giving birth. The poses we did were many of the poses you do in a regular yoga practice. I love how yoga makes you feel and I can imagine as a pregnant woman how good it could make you feel. In 2009 a report done by the Harvard Mental Health Letter found scientific proof that yoga helps the body by slowing down the heart rate and lowering blood pressure when dealing with stress. In a study done in India by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the study divided pregnant participants up randomly and had one group take daily yoga classes (1 hour per day) while the controlled group walked 30 minutes twice a day. At the end of the study the findings showed the group that did yoga daily had reduced preterm labor, had less pregnancy induced hypertension and less intrauterine growth retardation than the control group. Another study by the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found woman who participated in prenatal yoga weekly for one month and then continued doing yoga at home reported 31% less stress at 36 weeks compared to their baseline stress levels. The study also found that prenatal yoga helped balance the body’s autonomic responses to stress by reducing the effects of prenatal stress. In addition to all the great effects prenatal yoga has on the body and the baby itself it also helps your social life. “Taking a prenatal yoga class is a great way to meet other pregnant woman and become a part of a community,” said prenatal yoga instructor and registered nurse Cynthea Denise. Yoga Positions Good for Pregnancy: 1. Cat-cow stretch 2. Squatting 3. Warrior 4. Side-lying 5. Frog pose 6. Downward Dog 7. Mountain with open-twists to each side (never do a closed twist when you are pregnant, only open twists) These are just a few of the poses we did in class today but each of them stretched out the muscles that will be used while giving birth. I could tell the squatting poses could really help get the muscles warmed up and extra flexible. I totally understand why prenatal yoga helps mothers not stress as much because it is truly calming and connecting with your breathe is another way to relax and not to stress.