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Mind-Body Interventions During Pregnancy


  • Amy E. Beddoe,

    Corresponding author
    1. RN, PhD, assistant professor, School of Nursing, San Jose State University, CA
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  • Kathryn A. Lee

    1. RN, PhD, FAAN, professor, the James and Marjorie Livingston Chair in Nursing, and director of the Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco
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Amy E. Beddoe, RN, PhD, School of Nursing, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, HB 420, San Jose, CA 95192-0057.


Objective:  To examine published evidence on the effectiveness of mind-body interventions during pregnancy on perceived stress, mood, and perinatal outcomes.

Data sources:  Computerized searches of PubMed, Cinahl, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library.

Study Selection:  Twelve out of 64 published intervention studies between 1980 and February 2007 of healthy, adult pregnant women met criteria for review.

Data extraction and synthesis:  Studies were categorized by type of mind-body modality used. Progressive muscle relaxation was the most common intervention. Other studies used a multimodal psychoeducation approach or a yoga and meditation intervention. The research contained methodological problems, primarily 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 birthweight, shorter length of labor, fewer instrument-assisted births, and reduced perceived stress and anxiety.

Conclusions:  There is evidence that pregnant women have health benefits from mind-body therapies used in conjunction with conventional prenatal care. Further research is necessary to build on these studies in order to predict characteristics of subgroups that might benefit from mind-body practices and examine cost effectiveness of these interventions on perinatal outcomes.