Effect of antenatal yoga on adverse psychological outcomes in pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time when expectant mothers may experience mental health issues for the first time, and stress, anxiety and depression are common. These conditions have been associated with both poor birth outcomes and an increased risk of postnatal depression. Stress levels have also been shown to have a negative impact on musculoskeletal conditions in pregnancy. It has been proposed that the benefits of yoga as a method of stress relief could extend to the ante-and postnatal periods.
The aim of this literature review was to explore the available evidence for the use of yoga in the management of stress, anxiety and depression in pregnancy, and to propose suggestions for further research in this field. A literature search was conducted using all the search engines on the Healthcare Databases Advanced Search online resource. Specific inclusion criteria yielded nine papers that were of sufficient quality to be included. The study group sizes ranged from 46 to 122 participants. Interventions were variable with respect to the duration and frequency of yoga practice. Depression, anxiety and stress were measured using validated outcome measures, including the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory assessing state and trait, and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. No adverse events were reported, and the outcomes demonstrated decreases in anxiety and depression scores.
In conclusion, antenatal yoga may be an effective method of managing stress, anxiety and depression in pregnancy, but there is too much inconsistency within studies to draw any strong conclusions. Therefore, larger-scale, high-quality studies with consistent interventions are needed.
Keywords: adverse psychological outcomes, antenatal, pregnancy, prenatal, yoga.