Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free: First evidence found

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
The effects of yoga on pregnant women has been studied, with results showing that it can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression. Stress during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight and increased developmental and behavioral problems in the child as a toddler and adolescent, as well as later mental health problems in the mother. A high level of anxiety during pregnancy is linked with postnatal depression which in turn is associated with increased risk of developing depression later in life.

For the first time, researchers in the UK have studied the effects of yoga on pregnant women, and found that it can reduce the risk of them developing anxiety and depression. Stress during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth, low birth weight and increased developmental and behavioural problems in the child as a toddler and adolescent, as well as later mental health problems in the mother. A high level of anxiety during pregnancy is linked with postnatal depression which in turn is associated with increased risk of developing depression later in life.

While it has long been assumed by medical professionals that yoga can help reduce stress levels in mothers, it had never been tested in a research setting.

But in a paper published today in the journal Depression and Anxiety, academics, from Manchester and Newcastle Universities, show that women who attended a yoga class a week for eight weeks had decreased anxiety scores compared to the control group who received normal antenatal treatment. Dr James Newham, who carried out the research as a PhD student at Tommy's Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester, and is now a research associate at Newcastle University, said: "It is surprising this has never been looked at before, we have long believed that it works but no research had been done to back up the theory.

"We have now gone some way to prove that it can help. It was not a small effect either. This has the potential to really help mothers who are feeling anxious about their pregnancy."

Professor John Aplin, one of the senior investigators in Manchester, and himself a long standing yoga teacher, said: "Yoga incorporates relaxation and breathing techniques with postures that can be adapted for pregnant women. Many women opt to practice yoga during their pregnancy but this is the first worldwide report on the effects of both single and multiple sessions of antenatal yoga on mood."

The study, funded by baby charity Tommy's, was carried out in Greater Manchester and looked at 59 women who were pregnant for the first time and asked them to self-report their emotional state. They were split into several groups, some of which took part in a yoga session a week for eight weeks, while the others just had normal pre-natal treatment. A single session of yoga was found to reduce self-reported anxiety by one third and stress hormone levels by 14%. Encouragingly, similar findings were made at both the first and final session of the 8 week intervention.

Dr Newham added: "There is a growing body of evidence that maternal antenatal anxiety may increase the risk of pre-term delivery and the likelihood of giving birth to a low birth weight child. If we can reduce these risk factors, and perhaps reduce the rate of post-natal mood disorders in mothers and negative health outcomes in their offspring, then that can only be a good thing."

Professor Aplin said: "The results confirm what many who take part in yoga have suspected for a long time. There is also evidence yoga can reduce the need for pain relief during birth and the likelihood for delivery by emergency caesarean section.

"Perhaps we should be looking at providing yoga classes on the NHS. It would be relatively cheap to implement, could help mothers and their children be healthier, as well as reducing the costs of longer term health care."

Jacqui Clinton, Health Campaigns Director at Tommy's said: "At least 1 in 10 women experience mental health problems during pregnancy, yet previous research from Tommy's has shown that the stigma is so great, many women never get help for their feelings. This study shows that pregnant women may be able to use yoga to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, which in turn may help prevent them developing post-natal depression. We already know that pregnancy yoga can help improve physical health and strength on the run up to having a baby, and this new evidence shows that it may have important benefits for women's emotional health too."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Manchester University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James J. Newham, Anja Wittkowski, Janine Hurley, John D. Aplin, Melissa Westwood. EFFECTS OF ANTENATAL YOGA ON MATERNAL ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. Depression and Anxiety, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/da.22268

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free: First evidence found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430192543.htm>.
Manchester University. (2014, April 30). Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free: First evidence found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430192543.htm
Manchester University. "Yoga can help keep expectant mothers stress free: First evidence found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430192543.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins