Some interesting new research published this week explores the experiences of women with depressive symptoms who participated in a 12-week yoga and mindful physical activity intervention (Mindful Moms) throughout their pregnancy.

Nearly 20% of women in the United States experience depressive symptoms during the perinatal period, with known detrimental effects for the mother, child, and family. Depressive symptoms affect motivation to engage in healthy behaviors and self-management of symptoms.

The research findings suggest that participants in the yoga program felt empowered to manage their depressive symptoms through the combination of four key factors: a newly recognized need for help, a felt sense of physical and emotional benefit from participation, the power of shared safe space with other pregnant women, support from study staff, and an overall sense of empowerment.

The research concludes that a yoga ‘type’ program like the one featured in the study “appears to be a feasible and acceptable approach to enhancing motivation to self-manage depressive symptoms in pregnant women. Nurses working with childbearing women should be aware of the potential benefits of self-management strategies, such as mindful physical activity and motivational interviewing, for women facing perinatal depressive symptoms”

Russell S, Aubry C, Rider A, Mazzeo SE, Kinser PA. Mindful Moms: Motivation to Self-Manage Depression Symptoms. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2020;45(4):233-239. doi:10.1097/NMC.0000000000000625

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