According to results from a small pilot study, a community-based prenatal yoga program may be an acceptable, safe, and effective intervention to reduce the symptoms of depression among pregnant women. The results suggest that further research is warranted, the authors said.
Cynthia Battle, lead author, Brown University, said, "I learned in prior research that depressed pregnant women are often reluctant to use medications and some also have difficulty engaging in individual psychotherapy. When I asked them what other treatments they might find appealing, some mentioned yoga."
The researchers recruited 34 pregnant women with symptoms of depression to attend a yoga class tailored for pregnant women by registered yoga instructors. In addition to this, these women were also encouraged to practice at home. The program did not include any form of counseling or psychotherapy to address depression.
The study found that the more they did yoga, better they became psychologically. The researchers also measured significant changes in some attributes of mindfulness, which is one mechanism by which yoga may reduce depression.
The study appears in Women's Health Issues