Yoga can reduce stress and fear of childbirth

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Researchers have shown that yoga during pregnancy can benefit both the woman and her baby.

The study has proved that females who practice yoga during pregnancy are able to reduce their risk of depression and anxiety. Pregnancy stress has been linked to low birth weight, premature birth, behavioural and developmental problems.

High anxiety levels during pregnancy have been linked to postnatal depression which may lead to mental health issues later on.

Medical professionals have always made the assumption that yoga was suitable for the reduction of stress in mothers-to-be, but this theory had never actually been proven, until now.

Academics from the University of Manchester, along with their colleagues from Newcastle, have shown that women who attended one yoga class per week for around eight weeks decreased their anxiety scores, compared to those women who simply opted for normal antenatal treatments.

Dr James Newham carried out this research whilst he was a PhD student at the University of Manchester’s Tommy’s Maternal and Foetal Health Research Centre. He now holds the position as research associate at Newcastle University. He stated that for a long time they have believed that it works, but have now been able to back up this theory. He said that they have now proved that it can help mothers who are suffering from anxiety about their pregnancy.

A senior investigator and yoga teacher in Manchester, Professor John Aplin, has said that this is the first global report on the effects of single and multiple antenatal yoga sessions on the moods of the mother.

It was found that one session of yoga is able to reduce anxiety by 33.3% and stress levels by 14%. The findings were similar for both the first and the final sessions of the 8-week course.

The study was carried out by yoga teacher, Janine Hurley, who runs Yoyogis.com. She offered yoga sessions for local mothers-to-be. She said that this study could prompt the NHS to support yoga sessions for pregnant females.

She stated that the first session during the study really impacted on the women and this continued throughout the study period. She said that there are so many benefits to these special sessions.

Image Credit: A Healthier Michigan

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