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Yoga proves to reduce depression in pregnant women, boost maternal bonding
Date:8/8/2012

University of Michigan study the first to show evidence that mindfulness yoga may offer effective treatment for depressed new mothers to be

ANN ARBOR, Mich. It's no secret that pregnancy hormones can dampen moods, but for some expectant moms, it's much worse: 1 in 5 experience major depression.

Now, new research shows that an age-old recommended stress-buster may actually work for this group of women: yoga.

Pregnant women who were identified as psychiatrically high risk and who participated in a 10-week mindfulness yoga intervention saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. Mothers-to-be also reported stronger attachment to their babies in the womb.

The findings were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

"We hear about pregnant women trying yoga to reduce stress but there's no data on how effective this method is," says lead author Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of psychiatry and assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development. "Our work provides promising first evidence that mindfulness yoga may be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical treatment for pregnant women showing signs of depression.

"This promotes both mother and baby wellbeing."

Mental health disorders during pregnancy, including depression and anxiety, have become a serious health concern. Hormonal changes, genetic predisposition and social factors set the stage for some expectant moms to experience persistent irritability, feelings of being overwhelmed and inability to cope with stress.

Untreated, these symptoms bear major health risks for both the mom and baby, including poor weight gain, preeclampsia, premature labor and trouble bonding with the new baby.

While antidepressants have proven to effectively treat these mood disorders, Muzik says, previous studies show
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Contact: Beata Mostafavi
bmostafa@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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