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Consistent Exercise During Pregnancy Could Reduce Fatigue, Boost Mood

By HERWriter
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pregnant women who exercise improve mood and lessen fatigue Benis Arapovic/PhotoSpin

Many women joke around that pregnancy is the time to eat whatever you want to “please the baby” and to relax and not focus so much on keeping a certain figure. However, experts suggest that avoiding exercise during pregnancy really could harm your health -- specifically your mental health.

A recent study published in Psychology & Health states that exercising during pregnancy could reduce fatigue and boost mood.

After just four weeks of being involved in an exercise intervention group (which includes at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least four times a week) previously inactive pregnant women experienced a decrease in depression, anger, tension, fatigue and anxiety. They also experienced an increase in vigor, according to the study.

There were 56 participants, and the women were about 30 years old on average, and about 22.5 weeks pregnant. The study mentioned that between 60 and 75 percent of pregnant women are inactive, despite recommendations for exercise. Many pregnant women experience mood problems, and almost all experience some fatigue.

“These findings suggest that as little as four weeks of exercise participation is associated with decreases in negative mood states and anxiety among previously inactive healthy adult pregnant women,” the researchers concluded.

“From a psychological health perspective, these findings highlight the importance of continuing to promote exercise during pregnancy.”

Holly Parker, a licensed psychologist and exercise intervention expert, said in an email that the associations among mood disorders, fatigue and a sedentary lifestyle are influenced by several factors.

“Research suggests that body image dissatisfaction, which can occur as women's bodies change over the course of pregnancy, predicts the development of depression,” Parker said. “Given that exercise can help curb weight gain, this would also likely have a positive impact on body image.”

She said sedentary behavior can contribute to depression even in women who aren’t pregnant, as well.

“Research points to a connection between physical inactivity and feelings of fatigue,” Parker said.

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Pre-natal yoga classes have become popular in recent years as the health benefits to both mom and baby have begun to be recognized. Many women have expressed similar benefits to those discussed in this article from taking prenatal yoga classes in their local area.

In addition to regular exercise, studies have shown similar benefits to women receiving massage therapy while they are pregnant, especially with regard to depression and anxiety. For more info on prenatal massage, http://pregnancy-massage-nj.njmassage.info

January 31, 2014 - 5:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

Good work and you hit it on the nail. Exercise is so beneficial, especially reducing stress for pregnant women, making it easy for mom and baby.

August 10, 2013 - 10:52am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.