Systematic review of yoga for pregnant women: current status and future directions.
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Objectives. Yoga is used for a variety of immunological, neuromuscular, psychological, and pain conditions. Recent studies indicate that it may be effective in improving pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the existing literature on yoga for pregnancy. Methods. Six databases were searched using the terms “yoga AND pregnancy” and “yoga AND [post-natal OR post-partum]”. Trials were considered if they were controlled and evaluated a yoga intervention. All studies were evaluated for methodological quality according to the Jadad scale and the Delphi List. Results. Six trials were identified: three were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and three were controlled trials (CTs). The methodological quality and reporting ranged from 0–5 on the Jadad scale and from 3–6 on the Delphi List. Findings from the RCT studies indicate that yoga may produce improvements in stress levels, quality of life, aspects of interpersonal relating, autonomic nervous system functioning, and labour parameters such as comfort, pain, and duration. Conclusions. The findings suggest that yoga is well indicated for pregnant women and leads to improvements on a variety of pregnancy, labour, and birth outcomes. However, RCTs are needed to provide more information regarding the utility of yoga interventions for pregnancy.
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