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Exercise Boosts Energy and Mood in Pregnant Women

Update Date: Aug 02, 2013 03:19 PM EDT
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Exercise may help boost the mood of pregnant women, according to a new study.  Researchers found that exercise can even help reduce levels of fatigue, according to the study published in the journal Psychology & Health.

Researchers wanted to see whether a four-week exercise intervention program would help improve psychological well-being of previously inactive pregnant women.

The findings revealed that pregnant women reported significant improvements in their mood during the exercise program.  Participants also reported reduced levels of fatigue, suggesting that pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular exercise to improve both psychological and physical wellbeing.

Previous findings revealed that rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue are actually higher during pregnancy than following pregnancy

Post complications resulting from depression during pregnancy include insufficient weight gain, increased substance use, premature birth, small babies and reduced intention to breastfeed.

The latest findings are important because previous research showed that children of mothers who are depressed or anxious during pregnancy have higher cortisol levels at birth and adolescence.  These children are also more likely to have impaired cognition skills and are at greater risk of developmental and mental disorders.

What's more, researchers found that fatigue during pregnancy has been linked to increased risk of cesarean delivery, disturbed sleep and poor physical and mental health.

While the latest study looked at the short-term intervention program, researchers said the results suggest that exercising during pregnancy improves both physical and psychological health.

Because of misconceptions regarding the safety of exercise during pregnancy, researchers said that "continued efforts to educate women, their families and prenatal health professionals about current guidelines and the benefits and barriers associated with exercise during pregnancy are needed," according to a news release.

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