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Mind-Body Techniques in Pregnancy and Postpartum

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Maternal stress can perturb physiology and psychiatric health leading to adverse outcomes. This review investigates the effectiveness of several mind-body therapies—namely biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, tai chi, and yoga—as interventions in reducing maternal stress and other pregnancy-related conditions. Through randomized trials, these techniques have shown promising benefits for reducing pain, high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, labor pain and outcomes, and postpartum mood disturbances. As these interventions are easy to implement, low cost, and safe to perform in pregnancy, they should be considered as alternative, nonpharmaceutical interventions to use during pregnancy and postpartum care.

Keywords: biofeedback; guided imagery; mind-body techniques; mind-body therapy; postpartum; pregnancy; prenatal; progressive muscle relaxation; tai chi; yoga

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 2: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Kansas City 3: Department of Psychiatry, Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 4: RPYS-Yoga Alliance, Saint Louis, Missouri

Publication date: September 23, 2021

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