Toronto: Tired, moody and pregnant? Get some exercise!
Exercise may improve the mood of pregnant women and help reduce their levels of fatigue, a new study has found.
The study, by Anca Gaston and Harry Prapavessis at the University of Western Ontario, examined whether a four week exercise intervention programme would result in improvements in the psychological well-being of previously inactive pregnant women.
The results were clear, with participants reporting significant improvements in their mood during the programme.
They also saw reduced levels of fatigue, suggesting that pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise to improve both psychological and physical well-being.
While postpartum mood disorders like postnatal depression are widely recognised, rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue are actually higher during pregnancy than following pregnancy.
Possible complications resulting from depression during pregnancy include insufficient weight gain, increased substance use, premature birth, small babies and reduced intention to breastfeed.
The authors highlighted that children of mothers who are depressed or anxious during pregnancy have higher cortisol levels at birth and adolescence, impaired cognition skills and greater risk of developmental and mental disorders.
Moreover, fatigue during pregnancy has been associated with increased risk of caesarean delivery, disturbed sleep, and a negative impact on physical and mental health.
The research was published in journal Psychology & Health.