A research team at the University of Michigan conducted a study that found yoga to be an effective means of relieving stress of pregnant moms as an alternative to taking antidepressants (which many moms are hesitant to take for fear of affecting the babe).
We know what you’re thinking…But, wait, isn’t pregnancy an ecstatically joyous time of rainbows, fairy dust and sunshine? Not exactly. Pregnancy isn’t just about the little munchkin growing in your belly. Lots of changes happen in mom, too, that you can’t see, and that could lead to trouble later.
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, according to the researchers. Untreated, these symptoms could be major health risks for both mother and baby, including poor weight gain, preeclampsia, premature labor, and trouble bonding.
“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 well-being,” says lead author Maria Muzik, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of psychiatry.
The study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, involved women 12 to 26 weeks pregnant and showing signs of depression. Each participated in 90-minute “mindfulness” yoga sessions focused on creating awareness around changes happening in their bodies as their babies grow and poses that support the pregnant body.
The result? Calmer, happier mommies.
Of course, like anything with the white coats, more research is needed. So it’s nice that a grant from the Institute for Research on Women and Gender will fund some follow-up work.
“Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,” [Muzik] said. “This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy.”
So for all you moms who are like pffft, been there, done that, knew that, thanks. Right on, sisters. Tell your friends. For everyone else, cheer up! We’ll all benefit from happier pregnant ladies, believe us.