Background: the transition to motherhood can be stressful, especially for first time mothers. Recent research has shown that yoga can be effective for enhancing psychological well-being.
Objectives: the purpose of this study was to establish if a postpartum Dru yoga intervention improves psychological well-being in first time mothers.
Design: a randomised controlled study was conducted.
Setting and participants: first time mothers were recruited from a Sure Start Community Centre and included in the study if they had a baby aged between 6 weeks to one-year-old. Exclusion criteria were the presence of sciatica, bulging discs, heart disease or whiplash and if they already practiced yoga.
Methods: participants were randomised into a Dru yoga group (n=16) who received a one-hour Dru yoga session each week for 4 weeks and a 20-minute DVD for practice at home. The control group (n=16) who did not receive an intervention. Baseline and follow up measures of perceived stress, mood and coping were assessed in each group.
Results: a repeated measures factorial Analysis of Variance showed that in comparison to the control group, the Dru yoga intervention group had improved psychological well-being as indicated by reductions in stress, negative affect, and dysfunctional coping and increases in problem focused coping at follow up (P<0.05).
Conclusion: the current study shows that Dru yoga is beneficial for the psychological well-being of first time mothers. Further research is needed using large scale replication studies with a longer follow up period and including multiparous women. This study extends the support for yoga with postpartum mothers.
Keywords: Coping; Mood; Postpartum; Stress; Yoga.
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