Exercising during, after pregnancy reduces risk of getting baby blues
Exercising during and after pregnancy reduces the risk of getting the baby blues, researchers have discovered.
Simply walking with a pram protects against postnatal depression in new mothers, a study found. The research was published in the journal Birth. Researchers tracked the mental health of almost 1,000 mothers who were offered exercise interventions during and after pregnancy as part of a new study.
Compared to women who didn’t exercise, the researchers found those who did displayed fewer signs of depression following the birth of a child.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can include anxiety attacks, insecurity, irritability, fatigue, guilt, fear of harming the baby and a reluctance to breastfeed.
The symptoms start within four weeks of delivery and are considered severe when they last for more than two weeks, according to the researchers.
Researchers analysed data from 12 trials of exercise interventions during or after pregnancy between 1990 and 2016. The studies included a total of 932 women and all examined them for their severity of postpartum depression.
The exercises used in the various studies included stretching and breathing, walking programs, aerobic activity, Pilates and yoga.
Compared to women who didn’t exercise, the researchers found those who did had fewer depression symptom during the postpartum period.
The benefit of having fewer symptoms was seen even among women who did not meet the cutoff for a depression diagnosis.
The current study did not investigate how much exercise new mothers need to do to stave off symptoms of depression.
But The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended in 2009 that pregnant and postpartum women engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
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