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The Effect of Integrated Yoga on Labor Outcome: A Randomized Controlled Study

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BACKGROUND: Antenatal yoga has been found to be useful and reported to have many beneficial effects. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of yoga on labor outcome.

METHODS: This randomized two-armed active control study recruited 96 women with normal pregnancy. The experimental group practiced integrated yoga and the control group practiced standard antenatal exercises (1 hr/day), from 18 to 20 weeks of gestation until term.

RESULTS: The first stage of labor was 4.71 ± 0.59 and 6.19 ± 0.79 hr in yoga and control groups, respectively (p < .001, independent samples t test); the second stage was 23.41 ± 7.68 min in yoga and 55.19 ± 10.87 min in control group (p < .001); the third stage took 9.07 ± 2.35 min in yoga and 12.96 ± 2.86 min in control group (p < .001). Fewer number of women in yoga group required epidural analgesia (p < .001). The cesarean sections (7/51 in yoga and 18/45 in control; p = .004) and complications of pregnancy (intrauterine growth restriction [IUGR], pregnancy-induced hypertension [PIH], and preterm labor) were fewer (p = .010) in yoga than in control group. Birth weight of babies (p < .001) was higher and Apgar scores (p < .001) were better in yoga as compared to the control group.

CONCLUSION: Yoga during pregnancy decreases the duration of all stages of labor, complications of pregnancy, need for epidural analgesia, and cesarean sections; it also improves birth weight and Apgar scores of the infant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-09-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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