New research in pregnant women suggests that practicing yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for bodily functions when at rest) during the third trimester, improves sleep at night, and decreases α-amylase levels, indicating reduced stress.
The Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Research study included 38 women in a yoga group and 53 in a control group.
"Yoga involves holding poses and repeating slow, long, deep breaths; maternity yoga encourages the participant to relax and become aware of both herself and the fetus, and it supports the initiation of parasympathetic nervous activity," the authors wrote.
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Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Research, DOI: 10.1111/jog.13729