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Physical Activities to Reduce Depression Among Pregnant Women

17 June 2021

Depression is claimed to be rampant around the world. The prevalence worldwide has been reported to be 10.4% ( Many people were devastated because of the lockdown, unemployment, financial insecurity, and loss of loved ones due to coronavirus disease. Many people who were affected by the pandemic found it difficult to adapt to these distressing situations. An online article also reported about a survey done last year that people increasingly turned to alcohol to reduce anxiety and depression due to the pandemic situation.

Depression is also rampant among women during the prenatal and postnatal periods of pregnancy due to different reasons. Prenatal depression or depression during pregnancy is more common among women who are in economic hardship and experiencing adverse situations during pregnancy. Moreover, it is reported that depression risk is higher among single and young mothers with their socio-economic conditions. Some common symptoms that were indicated are:

  • Anger
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Hopelessness and guilty feeling
  • Hesitance to follow prenatal policies
  • SLeeplessness
  • Reduced interest in eating
  • Uninterested in activities that were previously enjoyed

Perinatal or prenatal depression if not treated may possibly affect the baby in some ways. And it is reported that pregnant women who experienced prenatal depression may possibly experience postnatal depression, too. Symptoms of postnatal depression as published online are :

  • consistent sadness
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Having trouble connecting with the baby
  • Loss of interest and happiness 
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fearful thoughts

 There are also some factors that a pregnant woman becomes more prone to prenatal depression such as::

  • Family depression history 
  • Being a single mom
  • Lower level of socioeconomic status
  • Background history of domestic violence
  • Unwanted pregnancy
  • Social support is lower 

There are also causes of postnatal depression as noted in an online article to name a few:

  • Historical background of mental health problems
  • “Baby blues”
  • No close relatives to give support
  • Poor relationship with husband or partner
  • Adverse events such as bereavement

On the lighter side, treatments are available for this kind of depression that could possibly affect pregnant women and those who have already delivered their babies. Some of them are:

  • Self-help - the mother should be able to treat herself such as interaction with other people or with her family or friends about what she was undergoing after childbirth so that they can give advice on how to overcome depression 
  • Psychological therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Have a healthy diet and sufficient sleep at night
  • Regular exercise

For regular exercises, pregnant women could engage in the following physical exercises regularly (retrieved from Medicina (Kaunas) 2019, May namely:

  1. Aerobic exercises such as walking or low step aerobics
  2. Yoga or mindfulness
  3. Stationary cycling
  4. Treadmill walking
  5. Stretching (10) minutes
  6. Bending - to reduce backache
  7. Crunches
  8. Arm reaches
  9. Shoulder circles
  10.  Pelvic curl

For stationary cycling, you may check on FlexiSpot products on its website. One of the best products from this company is the Under Desk Bike V9U -- Best Standing DeskMate.  This bike is a working bike as well as an exercise bike rolled into one.

It has wonderful features such as:

  • Fully assembled right out of the box so there is no need to worry about installation
  • It can be moved silently to any location with its easy-rolling casters 
  • It has 8 (eight) resistance levels which help you to change the level of intensity of your exercise 
  • You can cycle quietly and smoothly
  • The LCD display lets you track time, distance, calories burned, and others
  • The seat cushion is soft and most comfortable built with premium, durability
  • It is compact and can be easily placed under your standing desk when not in use

When you are a working soon-to-be mom, and you are working from home, this is the product for you to help you prevent depression with the light cycling exercise. The best thing here is you can shoot two birds at a time. While exercising, you can work on your office tasks productively and finish them efficiently.

The good thing about doing light exercise during pregnancy is that it enables you to give birth more easily in a shorter period of time. Giving birth is such a difficult and very painful experience especially for the first-time mother. Exercise is the best for pregnant mothers.

After giving birth, you still have that excess fat in your belly, so that exercise can be great for you. You can seek the advice of your OB-gynecologist when you can start exercising during post-natal pregnancy. 

In my case, when I was pregnant I was also a working mother and my doctor advised me to take leave until a week before my scheduled delivery. So, my exercise was to commute and walk to my office every day. 

It was difficult because during bedtime I really felt very tired with back pains that were indescribable. But I have to go on commuting to work so I could deliver the baby more easily with less contractions and pain. I was also worried about a cesarean operation which I really did not like to happen. All I wanted was a normal baby delivery. My husband was worried at that time because it was my first pregnancy and we wanted to have a normal delivery for our baby.

A week before my delivery, I already prepared the things I needed for hospital confinement and I applied for maternity leave which lasted for two months because I had a normal delivery and I only stayed three days in the hospital.

My husband and I were really happy about that safe delivery with our baby girl. I saw one mother whose baby was placed in an incubator and she had to go home without her baby yet. It was a sad situation for her because she was also a first-time mom. 

With my prenatal and postnatal pregnancy, I really followed all the advice my doctor told me, especially on the kind of food I should take that would benefit the baby and me. And everything was fine. Regular exercise is a great help for pregnant women especially those who are feeling depressed for some reason.