Prenatal yoga for young women a mixed methods study of acceptability and benefits
AuthorStyles, A; Loftus, V; Nicolson, S; Harms, L
Source TitleBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
University of Melbourne Author/sHarms, Louise
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsStyles, A., Loftus, V., Nicolson, S. & Harms, L. (2019). Prenatal yoga for young women a mixed methods study of acceptability and benefits. BMC PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH, 19 (1), https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-019-2564-4.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: High rates of psychological-distress, trauma and social complexity are reported among young pregnant women. At the Royal Women's Hospital, Australia, young pregnant women acknowledge wanting tools to improve maternal wellbeing yet remain challenging to engage in antenatal education and support. While yoga is a widely accepted and participated activity in pregnancy, with demonstrated benefits for adult pregnant women, adolescent women are often excluded from both these yoga interventions and related pregnancy studies. METHODS: This mixed methods study examined the acceptability and benefits of yoga for young women. We recruited 30 participants aged under 24 years, who were offered twice a week, one-hour voluntary prenatal yoga sessions throughout their pregnancy. A medical file audit gathered baseline demographics, pre and post yoga session surveys were administered and brief individual interview were conducted with study participants. RESULTS: While 26 study participants were positive about the availability of a yoga program, only 15 could attend yoga sessions (mean = 8 sessions, range 1-27). No differences were found in the demographic or psychosocial factors between those who did and did not attend the yoga sessions. The medical file audit found that 60% of all the study participants had a documented history of psychological distress. Barriers to participation were pragmatic, not attitudinal, based on the timing of the group sessions, transport availability and their own health. All study participants identified perceived benefits, and the yoga participants identified these as improved relaxation and reduction of psychological distress; labour preparation; bonding with their baby in utero; and social connectedness with the yoga group peers. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated yoga was acceptable to young pregnant women. For those who did participate in the sessions, yoga was found to decrease self-reported distress and increase perceived skills to assist with their labour and the birth of their baby. The provision of accessible yoga programs for pregnant young women is recommended.
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