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Impact of exercise during pregnancy on trimester-specific and postpartum QoL and depressive symptoms

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eMediNexus    03 May 2018

Healthy pregnant women should be counselled about the benefits of being physically active during pregnancy, and should be guided on how to remain physically active during a healthy pregnancy, suggests a new study published in the Archives of Womens Mental Health. A prospective cohort of 578 healthy pregnant women was followed during pregnancy through 6 months postpartum. Researchers assessed the levels of self-reported exercise and quality of life (QoL) before, during, and following pregnancy using standardized questionnaires during each trimester of pregnancy and 6 months postpartum. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 28 weeks gestation and 6 weeks postpartum. Participants were classified as having sufficient exercise if they achieved at least 150 min of exercise per week. Sufficient exercisers reported significantly higher ratings on most domains of QoL during each trimester of pregnancy and in the postpartum follow-up, compared with insufficient exercisers. No significant between-group differences were noted in depressive symptoms. Active women who became sedentary during their third trimester showed a decline in their QoL. Achieving recommended levels of exercise during pregnancy appeared to be linked with higher QoL during pregnancy and postpartum in healthy pregnant women, while decreasing the amount of exercise during pregnancy was associated with reduced QoL.

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