Exercise Helps New Mums Reduce Postnatal Depression

In a bid to battle the baby blues, new mums should put down the chocolate cake and pick up their pace.

According to a new study, exercising in the first three months after birth can significantly reduce the chances of suffering from postnatal depression.

And the good new is, it does not mean hours pounding on a treadmill. Instead the exercises include gentle squats, push-ups against a wall, baby massage and simply pushing a buggy.

In fact the University of Melbourne found women who took part in a light exercise regime could halve their risk of developing the debilitating condition.

Just over 160 new mums took part in the research program. All of them attended a parenting education class. But only half of them also received an 8-week ‘Mother and Baby’ exercise program.

“These were just normal mums, but some of whom had a risk of postnatal depression (PND) which is something that is not obvious early,” said Professor Mary Galea of the University of Melbourne.

“The number of women at risk of PND halved, but the other finding was that there was a significant positive effect on wellbeing as well.”

The study results back up earlier research, which showed women who got together to push their children in prams also reduced their risk of depression.

PND is a major health issue affecting up to 13 per cent of all new mothers throughout the world, with most cases emerging in the first three months after birth.

The study was published in Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association.

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