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Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Postpartum Depressive Symptoms


Demissie, Zewditu; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; Evenson, Kelly R.; Herring, Amy H.; Dole, Nancy; & Gaynes, Bradley N. (2013). Physical Activity during Pregnancy and Postpartum Depressive Symptoms. Midwifery, 29(2), 139-147. PMCID: PMC3459267


OBJECTIVE: to examine the associations between total and domain-specific moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during pregnancy and postpartum depressive symptoms.
DESIGN: a prospective cohort study.
PARTICIPANTS: data were obtained from 652 women recruited from prenatal clinics at University of North Carolina Hospitals during 2001-2005 for the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition (PIN) Postpartum Study.
MEASUREMENTS: MVPA measured at 17-22 and 27-30 weeks' gestation was investigated as a predictor of depressive symptoms assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at 3 months postpartum.
FINDINGS: total MVPA was not associated with depressive symptoms when using either 17-22 weeks' gestation or 27-30 weeks' gestation MVPA measures. In general, there were minimal associations for domain-specific MVPA. The direction of associations between depressive symptoms and work, adult and child care, and outdoor household MVPAs differed by time of measurement.
KEY CONCLUSIONS: the association between physical activity and postpartum depressive symptoms may differ with the timing of assessment. Additional studies (i.e. with a larger sample of women or a sample of at-risk women) following women throughout pregnancy and postpartum are needed to explore differences in the influence of physical activity on depressive symptoms.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: assessment of potential risk factors for elevated depressive symptoms, such as participation levels in different types of physical activity, throughout pregnancy may assist in determining who may be susceptible to postpartum depression.


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Journal Article

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Demissie, Zewditu
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Evenson, Kelly R.
Herring, Amy H.
Dole, Nancy
Gaynes, Bradley N.