Yoga Helps Battle Cardiovascular Disease in Mothers of Premature
A new study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has found that women who have had preterm deliveries are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life. Previous studies had shown that preterm delivery was linked to a higher risk of CVD, but had failed to take into account women’s lifestyle pre-pregnancy and other risk factors. The new study, involving over 70,000 women, made adjustments for these factors, concluding that women who deliver before 37 weeks have a 40% greater chance of CVD, while those who delivered before 32 weeks have a 60% increased risk. The good news is that yoga, which benefits the mind and body in so many ways, can help mothers fight CVD and related diseases.

How Can Yoga Help Mothers of Preterm Babies?

Because we know that having a baby preterm can increase our CVD risk, it is important to take preventive measures to keep this disease at bay if we have had a preterm delivery. A recent study indicates that yoga and aerobic exercise together, can reduce heart disease risk. The study, carried out at the American College of Cardiology, found that heart disease patients who practice yoga in addition to cardiovascular exercise, enjoyed twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol level, as those who practiced either of these activities exclusively. Lead author, Sonal Tanwar, PhD, noted that “”Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduce mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.” Heart disease lowers both our quality of life and lifespan; indeed, it is one of the most frequent chronic diseases in America. Although most people are covered against chronic disease, it greatly reduces our quality of life and is often to prevent through lifestyle changes.

Yoga and Heart Rate Variability

Previous research has shown that the regular practice of yoga leads to greater heart variability –  the variation of the heart rate, caused by the synergetic working of the sympathetic nervous system (which causes the heart rate to rise) and the parasympathetic system (which slows down the heart). Yoga helps the heart respond well to changes in the body, thus promoting better cardiovascular health. Other studies have shown that yoga reduces the likelihood of heart disease by helping lower ‘bad’ cholesterol; it is believed that one important reason is its stress reducing effects, which could help lower body mass, blood pressure, heart rate, and total cholesterol.

@jaredrice photo

Research indicates that women who have had preterm deliveries can be at a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to following a healthy diet and exercise routine, yoga can help reduce this risk by improving BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc. Yoga can also promote greater heart rate variability, which is a good indicator of heart health, in addition to promoting a host of benefits both for our physical and mental health.

Author, Cindy Trujillo
The Gift of Yoga