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Research: yoga & women’s health

Participants who practiced 10 weeks of prenatal yoga experienced reduced depression severity by the end of the study. Yoga was safe for pregnant women & may have advantages in terms of greater acceptability than standard depression treatments.

Yoga appeared to be useful for reducing anxiety toward childbirth & preventing an increase in symptoms of depression. A single session of yoga reduced anxiety & reductions continued through the end of study. 

RCT. 92 prenatally depressed women assigned either 12 weeks of yoga group or support group indicated yoga may have greater immediate effects on depression, anger & pain. Both yoga & social support experienced reduced depression & anxiety scores, improved relationship quality & decreased cortisol levels at the postpartum period.

Women who practiced 7 weeks of mindfulness-based yoga group intervention (yoga + MBSR) reported reductions in perceived stress & trait anxiety in their 3rd trimester.

Battle CL et al. Potential for Prenatal Yoga to Serve as an Intervention to Treat Depression During Pregnancy. Women’s Health Issues. 2015. Volume 25 (2):134–41
Beddoe, AE et al. The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Yoga During Pregnancy on Maternal Psychological and Physical Distress. J of Obs Gyn, & Neonatal Nurs, 2009. 38: 310–319.
Field T,  et al. Tai chi/yoga reduces prenatal depression, anxiety & sleep disturbances. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013;19(1):6–10.
Field T. Yoga and Social Support Reduce Prenatal Depression, Anxiety and Cortisol. J Yoga Phys Ther. 2012.
Muzik M et al. 2012. Mindfulness yoga during pregnancy for psychiatrically at-risk women: Preliminary results from a pilot feasibility study. Comp Ther Clin Practice. 18(4):235-40. 
Newham JJ, Wittkowski A, Hurley J, et al. Effects of antenatal yoga on maternal anxiety & depression: a RCTDepress Anxiety. 2014;31(8):631–640.
Satyapriya M, Nagarathna R, Padmalatha V, et al. Effect of integrated yoga on anxiety, depression & well being in normal pregnancy. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2013;19(4):230–236.

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