Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Grant Helps Launch of Mamas in Motion Prenatal Yoga Program at Danbury Hospital

Western Connecticut Health Network
Prenatal Yoga
DANBURY, Connecticut – October 5, 2017 - A $3,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation helped launch Mamas in Motion, a pilot prenatal yoga program at Danbury Hospital designed to help underserved women better manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension during pregnancy.

Designed by Danbury Hospital obstetrician/gynecologist Erin Panarelli, MD, and conducted by registered prenatal yoga teacher Allison Ray Jeraci, the eight-week program took place over the summer for one hour each week.

Nine class participants learned a variety of activities modified for practice by pregnant women, including breathing exercises, gentle stretching, yoga postures and relaxation techniques. Participants who attended at least six of the eight sessions received a Fitbit activity tracker to calculate daily physical activity after the program ended.

“Mamas in Motion was created to teach participants how to do yoga safely during pregnancy and ways it can be helpful to relax and help ease pain during labor and delivery,” said Dr. Panarelli. “The class also provides social benefits to participants by providing time to talk about their pregnancy experience with other women. We are grateful to Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for its support of this program.”

Participants were referred to the program by Dr. Panarelli, who provides prenatal care at the Greater Danbury Community Health Center in Danbury, where Hospital OB/GYNs treat approximately 60 new prenatal/postpartum patients each month.

“The Fund for Women & Girls works with partner organizations to increase the health, safety and economic security of women and girls throughout Fairfield County,” said Tricia Hyacinth, Director of The Fund for Women & Girls at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.” The Mamas in Motion program helps low-income women, many of whom are coping with various stressors, improve their overall mental health and ultimately that of their unborn child. We are pleased that our investment in this pilot program has resulted in its continuation.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women with uncomplicated pregnancies be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength conditioning exercises before, during and after pregnancy to improve or maintain physical fitness, help with weight management, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in obese women, and enhances psychological well-being.

Based on the success of the pilot, the Mamas in Motion program is being offered again this month. For more information, call 203-739-7134.