Yoga and massage therapy reduce prenatal depression and prematurity

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2012 Apr;16(2):204-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.08.002. Epub 2011 Sep 23.


Eighty-four prenatally depressed women were randomly assigned to yoga, massage therapy or standard prenatal care control groups to determine the relative effects of yoga and massage therapy on prenatal depression and neonatal outcomes. Following 12 weeks of twice weekly yoga or massage therapy sessions (20 min each) both therapy groups versus the control group had a greater decrease on depression, anxiety and back and leg pain scales and a greater increase on a relationship scale. In addition, the yoga and massage therapy groups did not differ on neonatal outcomes including gestational age and birthweight, and those groups, in turn, had greater gestational age and birthweight than the control group.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Birth Weight
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Massage / psychology
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / psychology
  • Premature Birth / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Yoga / psychology*