Yoga may help ease depression in pregnant women, says a study.
Researchers reported that pregnant women’s depression levels fell when they were made to do yoga. The more yoga they did, the better their mental health, according to the study.
34 women attended yoga classes and were encouraged to do yoga at home for 10 weeks, during which the women did not receive any form of counseling or therapy. Four of the women, however, were receiving outside treatment for their depression.
Alongside easing depression, yoga also uplifted the women’s levels of mindfulness, according to the researchers. Mindfulness involves directing attention to the present moment, noticing thoughts, feelings or sensations, and not judging those experiences.
“This is really about trying to develop a wider range of options that suit women who are experiencing these kind of symptoms during pregnancy,” said lead author of the study Cynthia Battle, psychologist and an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University.
Battle noted that many pregnant women were reluctant to take antidepressants and individual psychotherapy.
“Prenatal yoga really does appear to be an approach that is feasible to administer, acceptable to women and their health care providers, and potentially helpful to improve mood,” she added.
The study will be published in the March/April issue of the Women’s Health Issues journal.
A 2014 study by researchers from the Manchester and Newcastle Universities published in the journal Depression and Anxiety also found that pregnant women who practised yoga had significantly decreased anxiety scores.
Yoga teacher Rahoul Masrani adds more to the list of the benefits of yoga to pregnant women. “Yoga is great for pregnant women because it provides a low-impact form of physical activity which helps to strengthen muscles, lubricate joints and get rid of any stiffness that pregnancy might bring,” he said to telegraph.co.uk.
Sources: March 19, 2015. "Yoga May Help Ease Depression in Pregnant Women". webmd.com March 12, 2015. "Yoga May Help Ease Prenatal Depression." psychcentral.com March 12, 2015. "Yoga shows promise for prenatal depression". futurity.org March 10, 2015. "From pregnancy aches to PTSD: is there any condition yoga can't help?". telegraph.co.uk
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