Open Accessibility Menu

Prenatal yoga: health benefits for you and your baby


There is nothing to prepare you for the news of a pregnancy. Whether you hear it from your doctor or see it on a stick, it still carries with it a lot of excitement and apprehension, not to mention changes. The entire 40 weeks your body is rapidly changing in anticipation of bringing a tiny human into the world. That's why it's more important than ever to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices.

We've all heard prenatal yoga is a healthy practice that's great to adopt during pregnancy, but you may wonder if it's a good fit for you. Read on for three important ways prenatal yoga can benefit you and your baby.

Your Body Gets More Support

During pregnancy your body experiences an accelerated pace of change and prenatal yoga is designed to support you every step of the way. Every posture and breathing technique is modified to help support you and your baby throughout these important months. A prenatal practice offers you a healthy, safe way to strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, and ways to decrease pregnancy discomfort. According to Mayo Clinic, research has found that prenatal yoga increases strength, flexibility and endurance for muscles needed for childbirth while also decreasing lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath. This will help you through these rapid changes and will ease the process by supporting your growing belly.

Prenatal Yoga Decreases Stress Hormones

A study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety shows that women who attended prenatal yoga class once a week for eight weeks had decreased anxiety scores. A single session of yoga was found to reduce self-reported anxiety by one third and stress hormone levels by 14%. Even though our bodies are equipped to handle changes, this study is incredibly reassuring because excess stress can actually do harm to you and your baby.

You and Your Baby's Brain Will Benefit

As John Medina, New York Times bestselling author and molecular biologist, explains in his groundbreaking book "Brain Rules for Baby", an overabundance of cortisol targets a baby's developing neurons, interfering with proper brain development. Medina recommends removing as much stress as possible for you and for baby during pregnancy.

Though there are many ways to reduce stress in your life. Medina suggests at least 30 minutes of exercise each day will help. Prenatal yoga is a known stress-reducer, good for keeping glucocorticoids away from baby's vulnerable neurons (and yours too), and it produces lots of brain-friendly chemicals and reduces the risk of clinical depression and anxiety disorders.

OB/GYN Humberto De Los Santos, MD, recommends prenatal yoga as a safe option during pregnancy. He tells his patients, "pregnancy should not be a state of confinement, and pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies should be encouraged to continue and engage in physical activities."

Are You Looking For a Prenatal Yoga Class Now...Look No Further

We are thrilled to announce that Methodist Dallas Medical Center now offers Unique Footprints Pre + Postnatal Yoga! Unique Footprints is a nursing practice that believes in a "5 trimester" approach that teaches you how to use yoga and mindfulness to prepare for preconception, pregnancy, birth and motherhood. Unique Footprints offers lots of resources and thought provoking ideas that can change your life, so if you're ready to slow down, sip tea and connect with other like-minded mommies, you can find a complete list of yoga classes at Methodist Dallas also offers a variety of childbirth classes and maternity tours here.

We hope to see you on the mat! Namaste

Jenny Morrow headshot.jpgJenny Morrow, RN, IBCLC, LCCE, RYT, is the Maternal/Neonatal Outreach Coordinator at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. She educates families on breastfeeding, childbirth, and infant basics. She lives in Dallas with her husband, and expecting her first child.