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The impact of yoga on anxiety in infertility patients

      Objective

      Anxiety has been shown to worsen over time during treatment in infertility patients (Lawson et al). The aim of this study is to assess the impact of a structured yoga intervention on anxiety levels in patients with infertility.

      Design

      Non-randomized controlled trial.

      Materials and Methods

      One hundred three participants who reported current use of infertility treatment at a large clinical infertility practice were recruited and enrolled in this study. Forty-nine participants were recruited as controls and fifty-four received our structured six-week yoga intervention. All subjects completed a validated anxiety measure, the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), at baseline and at a six-week follow up. “State” and “trait” anxiety scores were compared between the control group and intervention.

      Results

      There was no difference in baseline demographics between yoga participants and controls. Mean age and BMI between the control group and yoga group was as follows respectively: 33 years (SD 5) and 27kg/m2 (SD 7.7) vs. 36 years (SD 4) and 24kg/m2 (SD 5.5). The average time attempted at conceiving was 24 months in both groups and the average time in infertility treatment was 4 months in the control group vs. 7 months in the yoga group. Mean state anxiety scores in the yoga group were significantly lower after the six weeks as compared to the control group (p=0.014). Mean trait scores were not significantly different over the 6 weeks in either group.

      Conclusions

      Changes in state anxiety are expected to occur prior to changes in trait anxiety and our results are consistent with this finding. Mean state anxiety levels but not trait anxiety levels were significantly lower after a structured six-week yoga intervention in patients with infertility. These results suggest that yoga may have a beneficial role in reducing anxiety in patients with infertility.
      Reference:
      • 1.
        Lawson, A.K., Klock, S.C., Pavone, M.E, et al. Prospective study of depression and anxiety in female fertility preservation and infertility patients. Fertil Steril. 2014;102(5):1377-1384.