A systematic review: The effects of yoga on pregnancy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2020 Jul:250:171-177. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.03.044. Epub 2020 May 5.


Objective: A systematic review was conducted to update and provide a comprehensive overview on the psychological effects of antenatal yoga on pregnancy compared to standard prenatal care.

Study design: Four databases were searched using keywords "yoga", "pregnancy", "perinatal care", "prenatal care", "postnatal care", "postpartum period", "peripartum period", "patient outcome assessment", "outcome assessment", "pregnancy outcome", "treatment outcome". Trials were considered if they were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published from 2011 to 2018 and evaluated an antenatal yoga intervention. All studies were assessed for risk of bias using the Cochrane criteria. Trial characteristics and outcomes were extracted and synthesized descriptively where possible. Due to heterogeneity, meta-analysis was not possible.

Results: Of the 175 non-duplicated studies, 16 met criteria for full-text review. Five RCTs met the inclusion criteria and were included in the systematic review. The findings of the RCTs suggest antenatal yoga may be safe and may effectively decrease stress levels, anxiety scores, depression scores, and pain response as well as increasing maternal immunity and emotional-wellbeing.

Conclusion: Yoga appears to be safe and may improve psychological and pregnancy outcomes. However, due to the limited number of studies, more high-quality, large RCTs are needed to draw conclusions about improvement in other pregnancy outcomes.

Keywords: Outcome assessment; Patient outcome assessment; Perinatal care; Peripartum period; Postnatal care; Postpartum period; Pregnancy; Pregnancy outcome; Prenatal care; Treatment outcome; Yoga.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care
  • Yoga*