Practice Yoga during Pregnancy: Reduce Depression & Boost Maternal Bonding

Practice Yoga during Pregnancy: Reduce Depression & Boost Maternal Bonding

by Amanda Hawkinson

 A study conducted by the University of Michigan showed evidence that prenatal yoga may offer effective treatment for depression in mothers to be. It’s no secret that hormones associated with pregnancy can affect mood, but for some, it’s worse: 1 in 5 experience major depression.

New research shows that yoga, an age-old recommended stress-buster may actually work in relieving these symptoms. According to the study, pregnant women who were identified as psychiatrically high risk and participated in a 10-week yoga intervention saw a significant reduction in their symptoms. Mother’s-to-be also reported a stronger attachment to their babies in the womb.

The findings were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinic Practice.

Mental health disorders during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, are common and have become a serious health concern. Hormonal changes, genetic predisposition and social factors set the stage for some expectant moms to experience persistent irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed and inability to cope with stress. If left untreated, these symptoms bear major health risks for both the mom and baby, including poor weight gain, preeclampsia, premature labor and trouble bonding with the new baby.

While antidepressants have proven to successfully treat these mood disorders, previous studies show that many pregnant women are hesitant to take these drugs out of concern for their infant’s safety. Evidence suggests that women are more at ease with nontraditional treatments, including herbal medicine, relaxation techniques and mind-body work.

Yoga is becoming more and more popular; however, in the United States, many classes use yoga as “exercise” and omit the practice of being fully present in the moment and aware. A version of yoga, called mindfulness yoga, combines meditate focus and physical poses. It has proven to be a powerful method to fight stress and boost energy.

In the University of Michigan research study, women who showed  signs of depression (between 12-26 weeks pregnant) participated in a 90-minute mindfulness yoga sessions which focused on poses for the pregnant body, as well as supporting the awareness of how their bodies were changing to allow for growth.


Source: Science Daily