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Study Finds Meditation With Headspace App Reduces Stress in Pregnancy
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Study Finds Meditation With Headspace App Reduces Stress in Pregnancy

BY 
The Headspace Team
Headspace news

Study Finds Meditation With Headspace App Reduces Stress in Pregnancy

BY 
The Headspace Team

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Pregnancy can be a roller coaster of emotions. It’s a time filled with wonder — but it can also be a time of significant stress.

Research has found that almost 60% of people who are pregnant experience prenatal stress and 25% experience anxiety. Research also indicates that stress and anxiety can lead to unwanted outcomes, such as premature births and infants with low-birth weights.  

The good news? A pilot study conducted by researchers from San Diego State University and the University of California, Irvine found that meditation and mindfulness practices using the Headspace app can help reduce stress and anxiety during pregnancy. Among the research’s findings:

  • The study revealed statistically significant reductions in stress and anxiety levels among pregnant women meditating with the Headspace app. 
  • 65% of study participants reported that their sleep improved during the trial.
  • 95% of participants agreed that mindfulness helped improve other aspects of their lives. 

The study findings, “Evaluating the Impact of an App-Delivered Mindfulness Meditation Program to Reduce Stress and Anxiety During Pregnancy: Pilot Longitudinal Study,” were published by lead researcher Donna Balsam, RN, MSN, PhD, in the journal JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting. Previous research had shown that in-person, guided meditation could help in pregnancy, but not every expectant mother has access to such instruction due to availability, cost, time, and other barriers.

This new study examined if a meditation app on a smartphone (Headspace) could produce similar results. Ultimately, the research “found evidence to support the Headspace app as an effective intervention to aid in stress and anxiety reduction during pregnancy,” according to Dr. Balsam’s paper. 

The study consisted of 20 participants who lived in San Diego County and were between 10 and 32 weeks pregnant. During the month-long trial, each expectant mother was instructed to meditate twice daily using the Headspace app, regularly monitor her heart rate and sleep using an Oura Ring throughout the study, and self-report levels of anxiety and stress via questionnaires before and after study completion.

The data showed that low-frequency oscillation of the heart rate was reduced by an average of 13% among the participants, indicating reduced stress. The participants also reported improved sleep and general well-being. 

“This study shows significant promise in the potential for programs like Headspace to support pregnant people throughout their pregnancy,” says Dr. Balsam. “Women’s reproductive health has been historically under-researched, and while more research is needed in this space, I am hopeful that this study leads the way to further investigation.”

At Headspace, we are firm believers in the science of meditation and mindfulness helping our bodies and our minds. Almost two years ago, we introduced our External Research Collaborator Program, which was created to enable academic researchers, government agencies, healthcare institutions, and other organizations to conduct scientific studies using the Headspace app. This program has contributed to 60+ peer-reviewed publications already, and  40+ studies currently underway that are examining the positive impact mindfulness and the Headspace app can have on well-being. Researchers can submit proposals here. The Headspace Research team is encouraging research proposals that advance mental health equity in underserved or vulnerable populations. 

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text

element allows you to create

uotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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