According to researchers from the United Kingdom, high levels of anxiety during one’s pregnancy period have been linked with postnatal depression. This can also eventually increase the risk of developing depression in future. Stress during pregnancy has also been linked with an increased risk of behavioural and developmental problems in children as well as mental health problems in mothers. At the same time, it might increase the risk of premature births or low birth weight during birth.
The objective of the researchers was to figure out if yoga could actually reduce stress levels. This is also the first time the effects of yoga on pregnant women have been studied. The study involved 59 ladies who were pregnant for the first time. Some of these ladies participated in prenatal yoga sessions once every week for a total period of eight weeks. As for the other ladies, they continued with the normal prenatal treatment without yoga for the eight weeks.
According to the researchers, even a single session of prenatal yoga was discovered to reduce anxiety levels by over 30%. Aside from that, stress hormones were also reduced by 14%. During the last session of prenatal yoga, there were also similar results recorded. “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,” explained the researchers.
They went on to point out that prenatal yoga revolves around relaxation and breathing techniques. The postures included are suitable for pregnant women to perform. “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 postnatal mood disorders in mothers and negative health outcomes in their offspring, then that can only be a good thing,” added the researchers. They also reinstated that the results ‘confirm what many who take part in yoga have suspected for a long time’. For the full story, you can read it here.