Improve Psychological Well-Being and Labor Duration with Pregnancy Yoga
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay active during pregnancy. It’s both gentle and low impact, while offering physical and mental benefits.” – Karisa Ding
The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression. Yoga has been shown to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The research is accumulating. So, it makes sense to review and summarize what has been learned regarding the effects of yoga during pregnancy.
In today’s Research News article “The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8957136/ ) Corrigan and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effects of yoga during pregnancy. They identified 31 published research studies including 2413 pregnant women.
They report that the published research found that practicing yoga during pregnancy produces significant psychological benefits including decreases in perceived stress, anxiety, and depression and significant increases in physical, psychological, and social quality of life. They also report that practicing yoga reduced the duration of labor.
The findings of the published research to date suggests that practicing yoga during pregnancy improves the psychological well-being of the women and reduces the amount of labor.
“Women who do yoga — including breathing exercises, posture positions and meditation — for one hour a day have been shown to have a lower preterm labor rate, as well as lower risk of pregnancy-reduced hypertension, compared with women who spent the same amount of time walking.” – Maura Hohman
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Twitter @MindfulResearch
Corrigan, L., Moran, P., McGrath, N., Eustace-Cook, J., & Daly, D. (2022). The characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC pregnancy and childbirth, 22(1), 250. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04474-9
Yoga is a popular mind-body medicine frequently recommended to pregnant women. Gaps remain in our understanding of the core components of effective pregnancy yoga programmes. This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the characteristics and effectiveness of pregnancy yoga interventions, incorporating the FITT (frequency, intensity, time/duration and type) principle of exercise prescription.
Nine electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, CINAHL, WHOLiS, AMED, ScieLo, ASSIA and Web of Science. Randomised control trials and quasi-experimental studies examining pregnancy yoga interventions were eligible. Covidence was used to screen titles, abstracts, and full-text articles. Outcomes of interest were stress, anxiety, depression, quality of life, labour duration, pain management in labour and mode of birth. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias Assessment tool was used to assess methodological quality of studies and GRADE criteria (GRADEpro) evaluated quality of the evidence. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.3.
Of 862 citations retrieved, 31 studies met inclusion criteria. Twenty-nine studies with 2217 pregnant women were included for meta-analysis. Pregnancy yoga interventions reduced anxiety (SMD: -0.91; 95% CI: − 1.49 to − 0.33; p = 0.002), depression (SMD: -0.47; 95% CI: − 0.9 to − 0.04, P = 0.03) and perceived stress (SMD: -1.03; 95% CI: − 1.55 to − 0.52; p < 0.001). Yoga interventions also reduced duration of labour (MD = − 117.75; 95% CI − 153.80 to − 81.71, p < 0.001) and, increased odds of normal vaginal birth (OR 2.58; 95% CI 1.46–4.56, p < 0.001) and tolerance for pain. The quality of evidence (GRADE criteria) was low to very low for all outcomes. Twelve or more yoga sessions delivered weekly/bi-weekly had a statistically significant impact on mode of birth, while 12 or more yoga sessions of long duration (> 60 min) had a statistically significant impact on perceived stress.
The evidence highlights positive effects of pregnancy yoga on anxiety, depression, perceived stress, mode of birth and duration of labour.