Feeling blue? Prenatal yoga to the rescue!

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Battling depression during your pregnancy? There may be more options for you in addition to prescription medicine. Earlier this week, a study released by Brown University concluded that yoga may help expectant moms keep depression at bay.

According to this new research, which will be published in full later this month in the journal Women’s Health Issues, 34 moms-to-be with depression enrolled in a 10-week yoga class. Focusing solely on yoga, with no counseling or therapy component, the course sought to teach the women mindfulness, relaxation and calm – tips beneficial for any expectant mom.

The research

By the end of the course, the women unanimously experienced lowered levels of depression and increased mindfulness. When women practiced yoga at home, in addition to the classes, their mental health improved even more, according to the study’s researchers.

Yoga and you

So what does this all mean for you? While we would never suggest you dump your medication without consulting your health care provider first, starting up a yoga practice or attending classes may be a nice supplement to your treatment. Because many women are reluctant to seek medical help for mental illness during pregnancy, a gentle yoga practice may be just what they need.

Depression and pregnancy

Prenatal depression is not something to be taken lightly. Raging pregnancy hormones can exacerbate depression symptoms – or even cause them to return after a period of good mental health. In either case, report any symptoms you have to your doctor or midwife right away. While many medications used to treat depression are a no-go while pregnant, your health care provider will certainly have options to help you manage your symptoms safely – for you and for baby.

Why treat it?

Think you can suffer through your depression while your baby bump grows? Think again. Pregnancy should be a time of joy and anticipation. While it’s perfectly normal to be worried or down in the dumps about the changes you’re growing through – struggling to get out of bed in the morning, fighting insomnia or just feeling really blue are reasons to seek help. Fighting depression can leave you unable to properly care for yourself and make bonding with baby more difficult too.

The bottom line

With so many options for treating prenatal depression, it’s foolhardy to ignore your mental health. Pregnancy and parenting are tough jobs, and there’s no reason to choose to fight an uphill battle. Talk to your doctor or midwife about starting a yoga routine to help brighten your mood. The research is certainly out there – a gentle yoga practice helps pregnant women fight the blues!

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