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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009 Sep-Oct;38(5):556-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2009.01050.x.

Physical activity prior to and during pregnancy and risk of postpartum depressive symptoms.

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  • 1Blumenthal Cancer Center, Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA.



To examine the relationship between physical activity before and during the last trimester of pregnancy and postpartum depressive symptoms.


Secondary analysis of data from the 2004 and 2005 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.


Mailed questionnaire or telephone interview of new mothers in North Carolina.


Female residents of North Carolina, ages 18 to 45 (n=2,169), who had given birth to a live infant in the past 2 to 6 months.


Information on physical activity and depressive symptoms was self-reported. Logistic regression was used to examine the physical activity-depressive symptom associations while controlling for confounding variables.


After adjustment for confounders, there were no statistically significant associations between being physically active before and/or during pregnancy and feeling depressed or "down." However, participants who were physically active both prepregnancy and during the last trimester had decreased odds of having little interest or pleasure compared with participants who were not physically active, after adjustment for age and marital status (odds ratio =0.66, 95% confidence interval: 0.49, 0.87).


Although regular physical activity is recommended for healthy women during pregnancy, additional studies are needed to investigate the physical activity-depressive symptoms association. If confirmed in other studies, physical activity may be an additional option for women who want to ease postpartum depressive symptoms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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