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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 715942, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/715942
Review Article

Systematic Review of Yoga for Pregnant Women: Current Status and Future Directions

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3

Received 20 April 2012; Accepted 8 June 2012

Academic Editor: Karen J. Sherman

Copyright © 2012 Kathryn Curtis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.