Studies Show Yoga Prevents Depression During Pregnancy
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“Unfortunately, few women suffering from perinatal health disorders receive treatment, exposing them and their child to the negative impact of psychiatric illness during one of the most vulnerable times,” Muzik says. “That’s why developing feasible alternatives for treatment is critical.”
Evidence suggests women are more comfortable with nontraditional treatments, including herbal medicine, relaxation techniques, and mind-body work.
Yoga continues to grow in popularity but in the United States, many classes concentrate on yoga as “exercise,” omitting the practice of being fully present in the moment and aware, authors say.
Meanwhile, mindfulness yoga—which combines meditative focus with physical poses—has proven to be a powerful method to fight stress and boost energy.
For the University of Michigan research study, women who showed signs of depression and who were between 12-26 weeks pregnant participated in 90-minute mindfulness yoga sessions that focused on poses for the pregnant body, as well as support in the awareness of how their bodies were changing to help their babies grow.
Funding for follow up work on this subject was recently provided by a grant from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
“Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,” Muzik says. “This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy.”