Effects of Yoga and Meditation on the Birth Process

Altern Ther Health Med. 2023 Jan;29(1):6-14.


Context: During labor, conscious maternal expulsive efforts are crucial, especially in the second stage. Contemporarily, medical professional's bedside observations indicate an inadequacy in the maternal contribution to the process of delivery that has led to increased rates of caesarean sections and interventional deliveries. For that reason, the importance of yoga, meditation, and breath-awareness practices increases during pregnancy and birth.

Objective: The study intended to examine the impact on the delivery process of the practice of yoga and meditation during pregnancy and labor.

Design: The research team designed a randomized controlled trial.

Setting: The research was conducted between October 2016 and May 2018 at an educational and research hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, on the Anatolian side of the Istanbul province.

Participants: Participants were 90 primiparous pregnant women who applied to the pregnancy school at the hospital and who met the criteria for acceptance into the study.

Intervention: The participants was randomly divided into two groups, 30 in an intervention group and 60 in a control group. The intervention group performed yoga and meditation for 60 minutes two times a week for 10 weeks. Yoga and meditation practices also occurred during the course of labor for the intervention group. Routine midwifery care was given to both groups during labor.

Outcome measures: The data were collected using: (1) the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), (2) the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire A, (3) the Childbirth Self-Efficacy Scale (CBSEI) Short Form, (4) the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire Version B, and (5) a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain.

Results: When the labor data were evaluated, the intervention group had statistically higher vaginal delivery rates, lower labor intervention rates and episiotomy opening frequencies, lower pain measurement scores and WIJMA B scores, and higher CBSEI scores than the control group. However, the intervention group's STAI scores had increased significantly after the practice post intervention.

Conclusions: Yoga and meditation are effective methods for reducing pain and fear perception and increasing self-efficacy and vaginal delivery rates during the labor process.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Yoga*