Current Psychiatry Reports

, 21:133 | Cite as

Innovations in the Treatment of Perinatal Depression: the Role of Yoga and Physical Activity Interventions During Pregnancy and Postpartum

  • Elizabeth H. EustisEmail author
  • Samantha Ernst
  • Kristen Sutton
  • Cynthia L. Battle
Reproductive Psychiatry and Women's Health (CN Epperson and L Hantsoo, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Reproductive Psychiatry and Women's Health


Purpose of Review

We review evidence for physical activity and yoga as interventions for depressed pregnant and postpartum women.

Recent Findings

Results from existing trials have generally indicated that physical activity and yoga interventions are acceptable to women during the perinatal period, and that these interventions can be effective in reducing depression. However, some studies have not found significant differences between intervention and control conditions. In addition, symptom improvements were not always maintained.


The available research on physical activity and yoga as interventions for perinatal depression is encouraging with regard to feasibility, acceptability, patient safety, and preliminary efficacy. These interventions have the ability to reach a large number of women who may not engage in traditional treatment. Additional high quality, rigorous, randomized controlled trials are needed. Future research is also needed to examine the optimal dose of these interventions and how to best increase sustained engagement.


Perinatal depression Postpartum depression Physical activity Exercise Yoga 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth H. Eustis
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samantha Ernst
    • 2
  • Kristen Sutton
    • 2
  • Cynthia L. Battle
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Anxiety and Related DisordersBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Butler Hospital Psychosocial ResearchProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Center for Women’s Behavioral HealthWomen & Infants Hospital of Rhode IslandProvidenceUSA

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