Last month, I joined forces with mental health advocates, medical practitioners, organizational leaders, parents, and caregivers from across the country to advocate for change during Black Maternal Mental Health Week. I had the honor of presenting at the Black Maternal & Mental Health Summit in Houston, Texas.
Hosted by The Shades of Blue Project and The UT Health School of Public Health, the summit was dedicated to promoting health equity for more Black birthing individuals across their birth experience. The main theme of the event was collective effort, as we are collectively working for greater community impact and change.
My presentation, “Prenatal Yoga’s Impact on Mind, Body, and Baby,” tied in perfectly with the summit’s theme. I highlighted the importance of movement during pregnancy, since It’s been well proven that exercise can positively impact overall mood and has been shown to reduce anxiety and feelings of depression. I also discussed how prenatal yoga supports the ever-changing body during pregnancy while naturally increasing serotonin and reducing cortisol. I emphasized that prenatal yoga helps to develop a connection with the baby, and how studies show women who regularly practiced prenatal yoga were less likely to have pre-term labor or to deliver a low birthweight baby.
After leading everyone through prenatal-friendly breathing and movement exercises, the bulk of my presentation shifted towards one of the biggest benefits of prenatal yoga – community. Poor social support is an important risk factor for depression in pregnancy. Prenatal yoga classes improve social support by connecting with other pregnant women in a safe, supportive environment. Whether you attend an in-person or a virtual class, the connection is undeniable. There’s something powerful about being in a space with people who are facing this magical, sacred, stressful, uncomfortable, and confusing journey called pregnancy at the same time you are. A strong support system makes childbirth and postpartum easier, and with postpartum depression impacting 1 in 8 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers, we need to be doing everything we possibly can strengthen support systems in our communities.
Thank you for continuing to support Prana Prenatal Yoga and for being a part of our community. Thank you for supporting the Momnibus Act. And a very special to Kay Matthews and the entire Shades of Blue Project team for hosting this transformative event.
To find out more about Shades of Blue Project, click here.
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By: Prana Practitioners and Other Experts
Experts answer all your questions about pregnancy, birth, motherhood, and beyond.