Menu Close

Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms during Pregnancy among Latina Women: A Prospective Cohort Study


Szegda, Kathleen; Bertone-Johnson, Elizabeth R.; Pekow, Penelope S.; Powers, Sally; Markenson, Glenn R.; Dole, Nancy; & Chasan-Taber, Lisa (2018). Physical Activity and Depressive Symptoms during Pregnancy among Latina Women: A Prospective Cohort Study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 18, 252. PMCID: PMC6011358


BACKGROUND: Latina women are at increased risk for antenatal depressive disorders, which are common during pregnancy and are associated with elevated risk for poor maternal health and birth outcomes. Physical activity is a potential mechanism to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms. The purpose of the study was to assess whether total and domain-specific physical activity in early pregnancy reduced risk for elevated antenatal depressive symptoms in mid-late pregnancy in a population of Latina women at high-risk for depression.
METHODS: Data from 820 Latina participants in the prospective cohort study Proyecto Buena Salud was examined using multivariable logistic regression. Total, moderate/vigorous, and domain-specific physical activity (household/caregiving, occupational, sports/exercise, transportation) were assessed using the Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to assess depressive symptoms and identify women with elevated symptoms indicative of at least probable minor depression and probable major depression.
RESULTS: A total of 25.9% of participants experienced at least probable minor depression and 19.1% probable major depression in mid-late pregnancy. After adjusting for important risk factors, no significant associations were observed between total physical activity (4th Quartile vs.1st Quartile OR = 1.02, 95% CI = 0.61, 1.71; p-trend = 0.62) or meeting exercise guidelines in pregnancy (OR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.65, 1.41) and at least probable minor depression; similarly, associations were not observed between these measures and probable major depression. There was a suggestion of increased risk of probable major depression with high levels of household/caregiving activity (4th Quartile vs 1st Quartile OR = 1.51, 95% CI = 0.93, 2.46), but this was attenuated and remained not statistically significant after adjustment. When we repeated the analysis among women who did not have elevated depressive symptoms in early pregnancy (n = 596), findings were unchanged, though a nonsignificant protective effect was observed for sport/exercise activity and probable major depression in fully adjusted analysis (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.30, 1.33).
CONCLUSION: Among Latina women at high-risk for antenatal depression, early pregnancy physical activity was not associated with elevated depressive symptoms in mid-to-late pregnancy.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth


Szegda, Kathleen
Bertone-Johnson, Elizabeth R.
Pekow, Penelope S.
Powers, Sally
Markenson, Glenn R.
Dole, Nancy
Chasan-Taber, Lisa