Yoga May Help Lessen Symptoms of Prenatal Depression, Study

By Ashwin Subramania - 14 Mar '15 09:53AM

A new study suggests that with regular practise of yoga, symptoms related to prenatal depression can be considerably lessened.

Researchers from Butler Hospital and Womens & Infants hospital and Brown University were on the lookout for alternative treatments to help pregnant women effectively battle depression.

With many expecting mothers reluctant to take medication to treat depression, the researchers asked the patients to suggest treatment options they would like try. Many patients showed an interest in yoga.

For the study, the researchers put 34 pregnant women with signs of prenatal depression on a specially designed yoga programme. The participants of the yoga programme were required to perform simple yoga routines over a 10 week period and were also encouraged to practise at home as well.

Their state of mental health was regularly evaluated through questionnaires. Reports showed that the more the participants performed yoga the more they showed the signs of recovering from severe mood disorders.

None of the participants also experienced any physical discomfort while doing the asanas, which made yoga an ideal form exercise for pregnant women. After 10 weeks, the women also appeared to be more mindful of their own feelings and that of others.

Lead author of the study, Cynthia Battle commented, "What we feel like we've learned from this open pilot trial is that prenatal yoga really does appear to be an approach that is feasible to administer, acceptable to women and their healthcare providers, and potentially helpful to improve mood. We found what we think are very encouraging results."

Encouraged by their initial findings, the team of researchers will now embark on a five year study where they intend to further explore the therapeutic effects yoga may have to help reduce stress levels in pregnant women.

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