Journal of Womens Health, Issues and Care ISSN: 2325-9795

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Research Article, J Womens Health Issues Care Vol: 5 Issue: 4

The Effect of One Month Yoga Intervention on Perceived Stress and Anxiety in Pregnant Women

Rashmi A Bapat*, SonyKumari and Nagendra HR
Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana University, Bangalore, India
Corresponding author : Rashmi A Bapat
Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation and University, Banglore-560011 India
Tel: 09870489477, 09742060024
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: March 4, 2015 Accepted: January 25, 2016 Published: January 29, 2016
Citation: Bapat RA, Kumari S, Nagendra HR (2016) The Effect of One Month Yoga Intervention on Perceived Stress and Anxiety in Pregnant Women. J Womens Health, Issues Care 5:3. doi:10.4172/2325-9795.1000233


The effect of one month yoga intervention on state anxiety and perceived stress in pregnant women (n=40) was examined. The participants were divided into two groups- yoga and control group. Yoga group was given one month yoga intervention of asanas, relaxation technique, pran?ayama, and AUM meditation (thirty minutes) for one hour every alternate day. Results indicated that yoga intervention based AUM meditation contributed significantly to reduce the perceived stress and anxiety in pregnant women.

Keywords: Pregnant women; State anxiety; Perceived stress; One month yoga; Aum meditation


Pregnant women; State anxiety; Perceived stress; One month yoga; Aum meditation


Pregnancy is a very precious and important event in a woman’s life. It is a state of physiological stress that necessitates physical, mental and social adaptation. Human pregnancy is the most studied of all mammalian pregnancies. With recent advances in obstetrics the little life inside the womb can be visualized from the very first day of fetal life, from the moment of conception until birth. It is indeed artistic, accurate and awesome; the new life taking shape and becoming active inside the mother to be so vivid and complex [1,2]. Today’s urbanization and hectic life style pattern have increased risk of complications during pregnancy. Emotional stress among all is found to be more in urbanized population [1,3].
It is true that the development of the baby is affected by several maternal as well as several fetal factors. Hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition, high stress levels in life style can cause harmful effects on the fetus. Similarly chromosomal abnormalities in embryo and infections in mother can cause several birth defects. These are prone to several complications in new born period and even later in childhood. Apart from these psychological stresses, fear, anxiety in mother can cause serious problems resulting in poor outcome [1,4,5].
It is now well-recognized that stress causes psycho-neuroimmunological changes in the body leading to pregnancy complications. It can lead to irregular, in coordinate uterine contractions causing distress ending in operative surgery. Hypersensitivity of mother leads to intolerance to pain, requiring heavy dosage of pain killers which are not safe for unborn [6]. Prenatal stress and outcomes-maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy have been associated with: Shorter gestation & higher incidence of preterm birth. Smaller birth weight and length, increased risk of miscarriage. Prospective studies have shown that maternal stress and anxieties during pregnancy are related to infant outcomes; such as Temperamental problems and increased fussiness, problems with attention, attention regulation, and emotional reactivity, lower scores on measures of mental development [1,5].
Our ancient teachings and techniques from Yoga and Ayurveda are found to be more effective. There can be many yogic relaxation techniques that can be used to minimize emotional stress and to create harmonious environment for coming child [6-9].
An ancient holistic Indian science, yoga, has been used for centuries for stress reduction and health promotion [10,11]. Positive effects of integrated yoga modules have been demonstrated in women with high- risk pregnancies [1,10,12] but no studies have looked the effect of one month yoga intervention based on AUM meditation on perceived stress and anxiety (Tables 1 and 2). The objective of the present study was to assess the effect of one month yoga intervention. AUM based meditation on perceived stress and anxiety in pregnant women.
Table 1: Yogic practice.
Table 2: AUM meditation.

Materials and Methods

A total (n=40) forty pregnant women receiving antenatal care at various obstetrics units in THANE and Mumbai, India were selected for yoga intervention. The selected women, who were aged between 25 years to 35 years and between 20th weeks to 28th weeks of pregnancy, were randomized to the yoga or control group. Yoga group (n=20) twenty and control group (n=20) twenty were divided randomly.
Both the groups were assessed for the pre and post physiological parameters blood pressure, weight, pulse rate tests and psychological PSS, STAI (form –X) tests. They were not informed about the hypothesis of the study. Informed consent was obtained from them all.


The State- Anxiety Inventory (STAI) is a psychological inventory. It was developed by psychologists Charles Spielberg, et al. in 1964. Their goal in creating the inventory was to create a set of questions that could be applied towards assessing different types of anxiety. Several items on the STAI were reversed coded (Items 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 16, 19, and 20). State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was used to assess the anxiety level of the pregnant woman in the initial stage and end stage of both 30 days of control and 30 days of experimental group.
The Perceived Stress Scale was developed to measure the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful. This was measured before (1day) yoga intervention and after (30th day) for both the groups. It contain 10 questions that would applied towards assessing perceived stress level. Several items on PSS were reverse coded (items 4, 5, 7, 8) High psychological Stress is associated with high blood pressure, higher BMI, larger waist to hip ratio, shorter Telomere length, higher cortisol levels, suppressed immune function, decreased sleep, and Increased alcohol consumption.


PSS and STAI (form -X) and parameters like blood pressure, weight, pulse rate were assessed before and after yoga intervention. From Table 1, Yoga intervention includes of AUM meditation sessions 30 minutes and yogic practices, set of loosening of joints, breathing techniques, asanas, and pranayam alternately one hour for four week [13,14].
From Table 2, AUM meditation is a type of meditation in which the person experience love and peace attune with the fetal movements, journey within. Everyday life is interaction between the senses and the outer world [15]. It is a technique for withdrawing the senses from the outer world and bringing them together (fetus and mother, union with cosmic soul). The union between you and your bigger self gives the seat for creativity and peace [16]. Aum meditation decreases oxygen consumption and heart rate and significant decrease in skin resistance level. It produces a state of alert full rest [17,18].

Result and Discussion

Means and SD, percentage, p value of the Measure of variables by Yoga and Control groups before and after intervention is shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Means and SD, percentage, p value of the Measure of variables by Yoga and Control groups before and after intervention.
The performances of the control and yoga intervention groups on the measure of PSS, STAI and other variables are shown in Table 3. A close perusal of the scores reveals considerable gain by the intervention group. The mean (M) and SD value of PSS, STAI, pulse rate (PR), systolic blood pressure (Systolic B.P), diastolic blood pressure (Diastolic B.P), of yoga group has reduced whereas in control group value increased. The weight increased both in yoga and control group. The percentage change of PSS & STAI was significant within the group, whereas control groups shows no significance expect weight.
As the scores were not normally distributed, Wilcoxon’s Signed Rank Test was used. Table 4 shows that, there were reduced percentage change of PSS & STAI value in yoga group (69.8%, 47.9%) compared with control group (88.7%, 61.04%) respectively and p value<0.05 of PSS & STAI (0.019 & 0.006 ) were significant within the group. This was supporting to the previous studies based on only IAYT intervention given for pregnant women.
Table 4: Wilcoxon’s signed Ranked Test.
Table 5 presents the result of Mann Whitney test. Results of Mann Whitney Test shows that there is a significant change in only the post data PSS value in yoga group rather than control group, the other variables shows no significant change. On the basis of these results we can conclude that there is a significant difference between Yoga and Control group (p<0.05).
Table 5: Mann - Whitney Tests.
The present study clearly indicates that AUM meditation based one month yoga intervention given during 20th week to 28th week of first pregnancy period of the average age group between 30-35years contributed to better reducing perceived stress and state anxiety (PSS and STAI) levels in pregnant women on Indian population and also it is safe.
In general the participating reported improvement in alert fullness. In addition they have experienced other benefits like reduction in blood pressure, clarity in thinking, and relaxed feeling in action. Earlier research on integrated yoga on Pregnancy experience anxiety, and depression in normal pregnancy State (STAI I) anxiety (decreased 15.65% in yoga, increased 13.76% in control), (2013) this study lends further support to previous studies based on IAYT intervention. However, there is need for a more detailed study on diet based yoga intervention given for pregnant women.


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