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Depression in Pregnancy: A Role for Yoga, a Lifestyle Practice to Complement Nutrition

  • Cynthia L. Battle
  • Anne E. Fritzson
Chapter
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)

Abstract

A substantial proportion of pregnant women experience depression, yet barriers can limit access to traditional mental health care during the perinatal period. Research suggests that many pregnant women are interested in pursuing other strategies for improving mood during pregnancy, including alternative treatment modalities. In recent years, researchers have begun to investigate yoga as a potentially affordable, accessible, non-pharmacologic treatment alternative for improving mood prenatally. Thus far, studies focusing on depression in non-pregnant adults suggest that yoga may be effective in lowering depression; however, only a small number of studies have examined the effects of yoga among depressed pregnant women. Survey results conclude that prenatal yoga is popular among pregnant women and viewed as an activity that is helpful in reducing stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The number of studies examining the efficacy of prenatal yoga has increased considerably in the past decade. This chapter reviews this growing area of research, including rationale for examining yoga as a potential intervention, and emerging empirical findings that provide some preliminary support for the potential use of yoga as a means of reducing depression symptoms during pregnancy. Limitations to the current body of research and future directions are also discussed.

Keywords

Pregnancy Depression Yoga Prenatal yoga Complementary and alternative medicine Perinatal depression 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorAlpert Medical School of Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Women & Infants’ Hospital of Rhode IslandProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Butler Hospital Psychosocial Research ProgramProvidenceUSA

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