Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pilot Study Explores Positive Effects of Yoga During Pregnancy

--Mindful yoga decreases pain, stress and anxiety--

Washington, D.C., May 15, 2009 — Increased physical and psychological distress during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for both mom and baby during and after birth. But according to a new study, mindfulness-based yoga can decrease these potentially dangerous risk factors. Mindfulness-based yoga is a combination of Iyengar yoga, a form of postural yoga, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a relaxation and stress management program. The results of the pilot study appear in the May/June issue of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN), which is published by the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

"The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Yoga During Pregnancy on Maternal Psychological and Physical Distress,” by Amy E. Beddoe, RN, PhD; Paul Yang, MD, PhD; Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, PhD, FACNM, FAAN; Sandra J. Weiss, PhD, DNSc, RN, FAAN and Kathryn A Lee, RN, PhD, FAAN, covers a seven-week mindfulness-based yoga group intervention involving 16 healthy, pregnant women who were between 12 and 32 weeks gestation at the time of enrollment.

The article describes how women practicing mindful yoga during their second trimester reported significant reductions in physical pain, while women in their third trimester showed greater reductions in perceived stress and anxiety.

"Childbirth preparation is extremely important at all stages of a pregnancy,” says AWHONN Executive Director Karen Peddicord, RNC, PhD. "Nurses can use this new knowledge to extend the traditional goals of pregnancy education to reduce pain and anxiety through more than just basic relaxation techniques.”

The article concludes that the preliminary evidence supporting yoga's potential efficacy for reducing pain and stress, particularly if started early in the pregnancy, should serve as a starting point for future research.

The Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN) is the bimonthly peer-reviewed journal of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is the foremost nursing authority that advances the health care of women and newborns through advocacy, research and the creation of high quality, evidence-based standards of care.

AWHONN's 23,000 members worldwide are clinicians, educators and executives who serve as patient care advocates focusing on the needs of women and infants.

A leader in professional development, AWHONN is the first and only association to be awarded the designation Premier Provider by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for innovation and excellence in Continuing Nursing Education.

In 2009 AWHONN celebrates its 40th anniversary of promoting the health of women and newborns. Founded in 1969 as the Nurses Association of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the association became a separate nonprofit organization called the Association of Women's Health and Neonatal Nurses in 1993. For more information, please visit us at

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