The effects of yoga-based interventions on postnatal mental health and well-being: A systematic review

Lydia Munns*, Nicola Spark, Anna Crossland, Catherine Elizabeth Jane Preston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The postnatal period is a critical time for maternal mental health, presenting unique challenges and vulnerabilities. Identifying effective and accessible strategies to improve postnatal mental health and well-being is therefore crucial and could have substantial benefits for both mothers and babies, alongside broader implications for healthcare systems. Yoga is a potential intervention that has demonstrated notable benefits; however, a gap exists in systematically evaluating the existing literature on postnatal yoga-based interventions. This systematic review addresses this, aiming to comprehensively assess the impact of postnatal yoga on maternal mental health and well-being.

Six databases were searched using keywords “yoga”, “yogic”, “postnatal”, “postpartum”, “perinatal”, “maternal”, “mother*“. Articles were considered if they were quantitative and evaluated a yoga or yoga-based intervention in postnatal samples. Study outcomes were extracted and synthesised descriptively. A quality assessment of studies was also conducted.

Of the 383 non-duplicated records that were identified, nine met criteria for full-text review. Only 6 met the inclusion criteria and so were included in the review. Across the 6 studies within this review, data from 377 adult women were included and looked at the outcomes of women in the USA, Northern Ireland, Taiwan and Turkey. The findings of the studies suggest that taking part in postnatal yoga is associated with decreased symptoms of depression, an increase in psychological well-being and quality of life.

Key conclusions
Yoga-based interventions may offer a promising and effective intervention for maternal mental health and well-being. However, due to the limited number of studies, and a lack of consistency in study design and measures, more high-quality research is required to establish these effects and explore the potential benefits on other aspects of maternal well-being and infant outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25455
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024

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