AT ACOG 2017

SAN DIEGO (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Inpatient prenatal yoga is a feasible and acceptable intervention for high-risk women admitted to the hospital, results from a single-center study suggested.

“We know that outside of obstetrics, yoga is beneficial to stress relief, musculoskeletal pain, and sleep quality,” Veronica Demtchouk, MD, said in an interview at the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Inpatient high-risk obstetrics patients have very limited physical activity that they feel is safe to do.”

Dr. Demtchouk of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, noted that while recent Cochrane reviews do not support routine bed rest for women with high-risk pregnancies, no data exist regarding yoga for hospitalized pregnant women.

In an effort to investigate the feasibility of establishing an inpatient prenatal yoga program, the researchers recruited 40 women with anticipated admission to the antepartum service for at least 72 hours and who received medical clearance from their primary obstetrician. One of the medical center’s nurse practitioners, who is also a certified yoga instructor, taught a 30-minute prenatal yoga session once a week in a waiting room.

“It was a large enough space; we moved away the furniture and did the yoga sessions there,” Dr. Demtchouk said.

Study participants completed a questionnaire after each yoga session and at hospital discharge, while 14 nurses completed questionnaires regarding patient care and patient satisfaction. Of the 40 patients, 16 completed one or more yoga sessions; 24 did not participate because of scheduling conflicts with ultrasound or fetal testing, change in clinical status, lack of interest on the day of the session, and delivery or discharge prior to the yoga session.

Of the 16 study participants, 8 reported a decreased level of stress, 4 reported better sleep, 4 reported applying the yoga techniques outside of class, and 3 reported decreased pain/discomfort.

“Not a single woman complained or was displeased with the yoga sessions,” Dr. Demtchouk said. “The biggest challenge was the timing of the yoga session. It was just once a week, which limited the number of women who could attend.”

Of the 14 nurses who completed questionnaires, all viewed yoga as beneficial to their patients, none found it disruptive to providing patient care, and all indicated they would recommend an inpatient prenatal yoga program to other hospitals with an antepartum service.

“I think having several sessions throughout the week is essential for having adequate patient participation,” Dr. Demtchouk added. “It’s essential to have the nurses on board with it.”

She reported having no relevant financial disclosures.