Prenatal Yoga at Obstectrics Office

Pregnant woman in Warrior II PoseIf there’s ever a time that excellent medical care is important, it’s during pregnancy. After all, there are two lives involved, not just one. A small study involving pregnant patients at a Kaiser Permenente Los Angeles Medical Center showed that group appointments followed by a prenatal yoga class improved the patients overall well-being.

The study, which spanned six years, provided group doctor visits with other pregnant women followed by prenatal yoga instead of traditional one-on-one doctor visits. “Pregnant patients shared with each other, had a discussion with the yoga teacher about important issues for that month, and did a quick one-on-one with the OB or midwife who then joined the discussion for a nice long chat about more medically related questions,” says Jessica Jennings, who designed the study for her masters thesis in exercise science at California State University Los Angeles. Then they practiced 30-45 minutes of yoga.

Of the women who experienced the group visit and yoga program, called Pregnancy in Balance, 96 percent said that would recommend it to others compared to 66 percent in the control group who did traditional one-on-one appointments.

Satisfaction with their care wasn’t the only benefit Jennings identified. “Patients in Pregnancy in Balance reported reduced stress, relief from physical aches and pains, improvements in mood, as well as enjoying a supportive atmosphere that encouraged bonding with their providers, their partners, and other moms-to-be,” said the study.

Researchers also noted positive trends for participants including fewer Cesareans and less low birth weight babies, though the study was too small to be statistically significant and more research is necessary.