Tags: yoga | pregnancy | depression

Yoga Eases Stress in Pregnancy

Monday, 13 August 2012 10:20 AM

Fluctuations in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy can produce wide mood swings and lead to serious depression, which strikes as many as 1 in 5 moms to be. But a new University of Michigan study has found expectant mothers who practice yoga have markedly lower stress levels and fewer depressive symptoms.
What’s more, pregnant yoga practitioners also report feeling a stronger attachment to their babies in the womb.
"Our work provides promising first evidence that mindfulness yoga may be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatment for pregnant women showing signs of depression,” said lead researcher Dr. Maria Muzik, with UM’s Center for Human Growth and Development. "This promotes both mother and baby wellbeing."
For the study, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Muzik and her colleagues recruited pregnant women at risk of depression to participate in a 10-week program involving mindfulness yoga – which combines meditative focus with physical poses.
The women, who were between 12 and 26 weeks pregnant, participated in 90-minute sessions that focused on poses for the pregnant body and how their bodies were changing to help their babies grow.
Mental health disorders during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, can cause expectant moms to feel persistent irritability and an inability to cope with stress. Untreated, these symptoms pose major health risks for mothers and babies alike. Antidepressants can help, but many pregnant women are reluctant to take drugs out of concern for their infant's safety.
"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 said. "That's why developing feasible alternatives for treatment is critical."
Past studies have found yoga to be a powerful method to fight stress and boost energy. "Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging," Muzik said. "This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy."

© HealthDay

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Mothers to be who practice yoga have markedly lower stress levels and fewer depressive symptoms.
Monday, 13 August 2012 10:20 AM
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