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  • Amanda Campbell

Yoga Proved To Reduce Anxiety & Depression During Pregnancy

Just in case you missed it the paper, “Effects of Antenatal Yoga on Maternal Anxiety and Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial” was published in the Journal Depression and Anxiety, May 1 2014. The study researches for the first time in the UK the effects of yoga on pregnant women, and concludes that yoga can reduce the risk of developing anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

This is highly important as stress during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of issues for both mother and baby including premature birth, low birth weight and increased developmental and behavioural problems in the child as a toddler and adolescent. It can also contribute to later mental health problems in the mother with postnatal depression linked to high levels of anxiety during pregnancy this in turn has been associated with an increased risk of developing depression later in life.

Although Yoga had long been assumed by medical professionals to help in the reduction of stress in expecting mothers, it had never been tested in a research setting. That was until academics from Manchester and Newcastle Universities funded by baby charity Tommy's asked a group of 59 first time mother's in Greater Manchester to self-report their emotional state. This group was divided with women participated in a weekly yoga class for eight weeks compared to a control group who received normal antenatal treatment. The study found a single yoga class reduced self-reported anxiety by one third and stress hormone by 14%. Positively, the great outcome experienced from the first yoga class continued to the final yoga class after 8 weeks with similar findings throughout resulting in decreased anxiety scores.

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 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.

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 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 practise 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 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".

If you would like to try yoga during your pregnancy Yoga Mix does offer a 5 week Pregnancy Yoga Flow Course with Amanda who is also pregnant herself.

Pregnancy Yoga Flow Course Dates

Wednesday September 13 - October 11, 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Wednesday October 18 - November 15, 7:30pm - 8:30pm

To find out more information or to book your place please click here.

#Pregnancy #Yoga #YogaMixClasses

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