Study: Practicing Prenatal Yoga Improves Maternal Comfort, Reduces Length of Labor

Prenatal Yoga: A Mindbody Practice to Benefit Your Pregnancy


As a pregnant woman looking looking for a safe, mindbody, self-help way to improve your comfort levels and shorten your birthing time, check out prenatal yoga! Check out the results of this study!

Prenatal Yoga Improves Birth Comfort and Reduces Length of Labor PhotoCredit: Istock/Xua



In 2008, 66 pregnant women were randomized into two groups of 33. The experimental group underwent 6 one-hour classes of prenatal yoga, inclusive of asana (yoga poses), breathwork and meditation, from gestation weeks 26 – 37. This group was also practiced yoga at home 2 -3x a week, integrating the asana, breathwork and meditation learned in class. This group kept a diary of their prenatal yoga practice as well.


The control group received regular scheduled prenatal care, during which the researchers conversed with them for approximately 20 – 30 minutes at each visit.


When it came time for the women to give birth, the researchers used 4 different measurements of comfort, pain and length of labor.


The researchers found:


the women who had practiced prenatal yoga experienced significantly higher maternal comfort during labor and two hours post-labor,

although both groups experienced high pain levels, the labor, the yoga group experienced significant and consistent lower pain scores than the control group,

the first stage of labor was significantly shorter for the women in the yoga group, although second stage labor was comparable for both groups.


Your yoga teacher should be specifically certified in Prenatal Yoga. The teachers should know how to use all kinds of props: from mats to blocks, bolsters, straps and blankets to make every pose accessible for every woman.


Attending a prenatal yoga class helps you adjust to your changes and compensate for your growing belly and the way you move differently on a daily basis. It’s great preparation for labor and birth for body and mind. 

Your teacher should teach you breathing for relaxation in addition to breathing for energy. These skills will help you remain calm and flexible in your emotional state throughout the birthing process.

Practice self-care and reduce stress by taking time just for yourself and your baby with prenatal yoga.


Look for a reputable prenatal class nearby you. The business should be properly credentialed to teach yoga and the teacher should be specifically certified in prenatal yoga.




Robertshawe, P. (2009). Effects of yoga on maternal comfort, labor pain and birth outcomes. Journal Of The Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, 15(2), 81.

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3 Responses to “Study: Practicing Prenatal Yoga Improves Maternal Comfort, Reduces Length of Labor”

  • This makes so much sense: “Attending a prenatal yoga class helps you adjust to your changes and compensate for your growing belly and the way you move differently on a daily basis.”

    A lot of woman have a hard time with the weight gain, and the different weight distributions that come with pregnancy. That’s so true that yoga will put pregnant women in touch with the fast-coming changes to their body. Especially for those who are not too physically active, or coordinated.

    I wish I took prenatal yoga when I was pregnant…

    I imagine the birth would have been somewhat easier than the Lamaze prepared me for. Yoga is all about being aware of the breath, the mind and the body. I’ll definitely recommend for my pregnant clients :).
    Linda Esposito (@TalkTherapyBiz) recently posted..9 Reasons Why The Kids From the ‘Hood Are AlrightMy Profile

  • This makes such good sense to me. I’m sure I could have used it back when. I imagine that yoga also helps with adjusting to the enormous changes in the body, helping body image and acceptance.
    Thanks, Kathy.
    Carolyn Stone recently posted..The Virtual Wheelchair Ramp: Making Accommodations at Home for Your Child’s Learning StyleMy Profile

  • I agree, practicing yoga and learning to breathe to ease pain makes so much sense. I wish these classes were offered as a part of prenatal health for all.
    My husband and I took a class as preparation for the birth of our first child. I would forget how to breathe when the pain came, but my husband was prepared and showed me what we had learned in class. It was extremely helpful and I felt we were a great team.
    Thanks Kathy for your wonderful articles to help new parents!
    irenesavarese recently posted..Why You Should Go Slow When DatingMy Profile

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