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Mind-body interventions during pregnancy.

03 Jul

Mind-Body Therapies Found Helpful for Pregnancy, Birth Outcomes

A research review reveals that mind-body methods are mildly associated with higher birth weights, shorter labors, fewer instrument-assisted births.

Researchers from the School of Nursing at San Jose State University in California reviewed published studies on the effectiveness of mind-body interventions during pregnancy, and whether these methods helped with perceived stress, mood, and prenatal outcomes.

Twelve out of 64 published intervention studies between 1980 and February 2007 of healthy, adult pregnant women met criteria for review. The studies were categorized by type of mind-body modality used. Progressive muscle relaxation was the most common intervention. Other studies used a multimodal psycho education approach or a yoga and meditation intervention. The research contained methodological problems - mainly the absence of a randomized control group or failure to adequately control confounding variables.

Nonetheless, there was modest evidence for the efficacy of mind-body modalities during pregnancy. Treatment group outcomes included higher birth weight, shorter length of labor, fewer instrument-assisted births, and a reduction in perceived stress and anxiety.

This review and analysis concludes that there is evidence that pregnant women have health benefits from mind-body therapies that are used in conjunction with conventional prenatal care. The authors recommend further research to build on these studies, in order to predict subgroups that might benefit from mind-body practices and examine cost effectiveness due to improved prenatal outcomes.

Citation: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Beddoe AE, Lee KA. Mind-body interventions during pregnancy.J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2008 Mar-Apr; 37 (2): pages 165-75. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award