A 10-week mindfulness yoga program relieved depression, anxiety, and stress in a group of pregnant women. They also felt a stronger attachment to their growing babies.
Although pregnancy is supposed to be the time in women’s lives when they positively glow, the reality for one in five pregnant women isn’t so rosy. Twenty percent of women experience major depression during pregnancy, while others experience milder depression and anxiety. A new study shows that yoga is able to reduce depression in pregnant women and improve maternal bonding.
Mindfulness for moms-to-be
A University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study identified pregnant women who were “psychiatrically high risk.” The women, who ranged from 12 to 26 weeks’ gestation, participated in a 10-week mindfulness yoga program. The results were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Depression and anxiety have become serious health problems for expectant moms. The combination of hormonal changes, social factors, and a woman’s genetic predisposition can lead to depression and anxiety during pregnancy. Some moms-to-be feel overwhelmed by the changes going on within their body and without, and need help to cope with the stress.
Safe alternative to antidepressants
While antidepressants are available, many women don’t want to take medication while pregnant. Yoga offers a safe, cost effective, and successful alternative to relieve the stress of pregnancy.
More than just exercise, mindfulness yoga combines meditation with physical poses and has proven to be a powerful way to improve mood and increase energy.
Reduced stress and depression
Women not only reported a reduction in stress and depression, they also felt a stronger attachment to their developing babies.
“Our work provides promising first evidence that mindfulness yoga may be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatment for pregnant women showing signs of depression,” says lead author Maria Muzik, MD.