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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2015;36(2):75-83. doi: 10.3109/0167482X.2014.989983. Epub 2014 Dec 26.

Mind-body group treatment for women coping with infertility: a pilot study.

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Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, MA , USA .



To evaluate the feasibility of a 10-week mind-body intervention (MBI) for women coping with fertility challenges, examine the impact of an MBI on psychological distress and cortisol levels, and assess adherence to MBI skills 12-months after completion of the intervention.


Prospective open pilot study of 51 women with infertility enrolled in a group MBI. Psychological variables and salivary cortisol levels were obtained pre- and post-intervention; a 12-month follow-up survey assessed MBI skill adherence. Participants completed practice logs throughout the intervention.


Participants attended an average of eight sessions (SD = 2.0), and practiced mind-body techniques which elicited the relaxation response (RR) an average of 5.9 (SD = 0.8) days/week and 20.1 (SD = 9.9) min/day; 80% completed the post-treatment assessment. The intervention resulted in a significant increase in perceived social support and a decrease in depressive symptoms and perceived stress; however, there were no significant changes in cortisol levels. Sixty-eight percent of the participants completed the 12-month follow-up, with 51% reporting continuation of RR-eliciting practice.


This group of women with infertility provided with an MBI showed decreased symptoms of depression and stress and increased perceived social support. The protocol was feasible and participants reported a high degree of adherence and maintenance to the skills taught during the intervention. The findings indicate the value of appropriate evaluation against a control group.


Adherence; infertility; mental health; mindbody; relaxation response; stress

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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