An eight-week mindfulness-based program was effective for reducing stress and depressive symptoms while increasing general well-being in a study of infertile women.
The Stress and Health study included 62 infertile women who underwent the program—which included meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, and other components—and 37 who were in a control group and received no intervention. The median number of symptoms of chronic stress recorded in the past month decreased from 6 before the program to 2 after the intervention. Depressive symptoms also decreased after the program, while general well-being improved. None of the outcomes changed significantly in the control group.
"Infertile women are often overwhelmed with chronic stress and are at increased risk for depression. We observed that a relatively brief program of mindfulness practice was able to reduce the self-perception of stress and depressive symptoms in this population," said senior author Dr. Fernando Reis, of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, in Brazil. "This program offers a complementary support to mitigate the psychological burden of infertility."