The effects of mindfulness-based yoga during pregnancy on maternal psychological and physical distress

J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009 May-Jun;38(3):310-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2009.01023.x.


Objective: To examine the feasibility and level of acceptability of a mindful yoga intervention provided during pregnancy and to gather preliminary data on the efficacy of the intervention in reducing distress.

Design: Baseline and post-treatment measures examined state and trait anxiety, perceived stress, pain, and morning salivary cortisol in a single treatment group. Postintervention data also included participant evaluation of the intervention.

Setting: The 7 weeks mindfulness-based yoga group intervention combined elements of Iyengar yoga and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Participants: Sixteen healthy pregnant nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies between 12 and 32 weeks gestation at the time of enrollment.

Methods: Outcomes were evaluated from pre- to postintervention and between second and third trimesters with repeated measures analysis of variance and post hoc nonparametric tests.

Results: Women practicing mindful yoga in their second trimester reported significant reductions in physical pain from baseline to postintervention compared with women in the third trimester whose pain increased. Women in their third trimester showed greater reductions in perceived stress and trait anxiety.

Conclusions: Preliminary evidence supports yoga's potential efficacy in these areas, particularly if started early in the pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / metabolism
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Pain / metabolism
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / metabolism
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yoga*


  • Hydrocortisone