There is probably no better way to prepare for childbirth than with yoga. The practice involves not just exercise but mindfulness. “Prenatal yoga teaches a woman to connect more fully to the life growing within her,” says Sue Elkind, a certified anusara yoga instructor at Yogaphoria in New Hope, Pa., and the mother of two. What’s more, she says, “Childbirth requires a great deal of strength, stamina and focus; yoga helps you with all of this.” (A study of 74 first-time mothers in Thailand found that those who did prenatal yoga experienced less pain and a shorter labor.)
What to Expect This workout can be done every other day. Do the poses in the order shown and take the time to relax after you finish and feel the changes in your body. Try to alternate this workout with some aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, three to five days a week for 20–45 minutes a day.