Yoga lowers depression in pregnant women

New York: A study has found that yoga can help pregnant women with significant depression reduce the severity of the mood disorder.

Yoga exercises can be feasible, acceptable, safe and effective for mild to moderately depressed women.

“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 Cynthia Battle, associate professor of psychiatry and human behaviour at Brown University.

For the study, the team recruited 34 pregnant women with elevated depression symptoms.

Women attended a programme of pre-natal yoga classes tailored for pregnant women by registered yoga instructors.

In addition to practicing yoga and mindfulness during the classes, women were also encouraged to do so at home.

At regular timepoints during the 10-week study, the researchers measured depressive symptoms in the women.

“The study provides signs that prenatal yoga could be helpful,” Battle said.

One was the degree to which depressive symptoms declined during the 10-week programme.

The data also showed that the more pre-natal yoga pregnant women did, the more they benefited psychologically.

The researchers also measured significant changes in some attributes of mindfulness, which many researchers believe is one mechanism by which yoga may reduce depression.

Mindfulness involves directing one’s attention to the present moment, noticing thoughts, feelings, or sensations and avoiding judgement of those experiences.

The paper was published in the journal Women’s Yoga.