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Benefits of Yoga for Combating Obesity in Pregnancy

Obesity in Pregnancy - Yoga proposal for a pregnancy health and wellness model - c. Doret June 2019

In 2017-18 two thirds (67.0%) of Australian adults were regarded as overweight or obese (ABS Stats). Studies show that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. In pregnancy obesity is associated with an increased risk of delayed labour onset, slow labour progress, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia (1). Obese women have higher rates of medical interventions and higher rates of caesarean section (Dr Sheehan P., Prof Parkington H. The Royal Women’s Pregnancy Research Centre). Elevated BMI contributes to weak contractions and this has been found to lead to caesarean delivery in many obese women. (2)

In addition to an inadequate diet, the most important contributing factor to overweight and obesity is a sedentary lifestyle, hence regular physical activity is recommended as the most important treatment option (3).

Yoga can help in the management of obesity using postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), deep relaxation (Yoga Nidra) and Meditation4. Many studies show the effectiveness of weight loss and weight control with yoga (5).