Exercise can both treat and prevent postpartum depression: Study
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Exercise can both treat and prevent postpartum depression: Study

Mother playing with her baby

According to a recent study, moderate aerobic exercise can both prevent and alleviate postpartum depression. This week’s meta-analysis, which looked at data from 26 research involving over 2,800 participants, revealed that aerobic exercise is a useful preventive and therapeutic measure for postpartum depression. In particular, it was best to engage in three to four moderately intense exercise sessions per week, lasting between 35 and 45 minutes, both before and after pregnancy. Exercise is beneficial whether done alone or in a group, the research indicates.

What are baby blues?

After giving delivery, the “baby blues” are experienced by most new mothers. These include emotional fluctuations, crying bouts, nervousness, and difficulty falling asleep. The baby blues usually begin two or three days after delivery and can linger for as long as fourteen days. Your uterus shrinks back to its usual size and promotes milk, among other things, when your body goes through intense hormonal fluctuations after giving birth to aid in your recovery and care for your child. The mental condition of a postpartum mother can also be impacted by those hormonal changes.

Also Read: Is Postpartum Depression for Real?

What is postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis?

Postpartum depression is a more severe and chronic form of depression that affects certain new mothers. It is often called peripartum depression since it can start during pregnancy and last beyond childbirth. Postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy in a person’s character. Sometimes it’s just another birthing issue. Getting therapy for postpartum depression as soon as you can will help you regulate your symptoms and strengthen your relationship with your kid.

Postpartum psychosis is an extreme mood condition that can occur after childbirth, however it happens seldom. PPP, or postpartum psychosis, is a serious mental health condition. This illness distorts a person’s perception of reality, leading to paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and other behavioral abnormalities. People with PPP may try to hurt themselves or their child in extreme circumstances. Therapy is available for this illness, and the sooner therapy begins, the better the prognosis.

Baby blues Sings and symptoms

Depression following childbirth can present with a spectrum of symptoms, from moderate to severe. The baby blues are a brief period of time that follows the birth of your child. The following are typical signs of the baby blues:

  • Tears welling up or falling silently at the slightest of things
  • Exhibiting mood swings or having very agitated
  • Feeling detached or disconnected from your child
  • You yearn for moments from your past, such as having the liberty to go out and meet friends.
  • Concerning yourself or your child’s well-being and security
  • Having restlessness or sleeplessness despite being fatigued

Read More: Habits to Help in Avoiding Depression

Postpartum depression symptoms

Although the symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe and persistent than those of baby blues, they may initially be confused with them. These can eventually make it more difficult for you to take care of your infant and do other everyday duties. Typically, symptoms appear in the first several weeks following childbirth. However, they can start sooner—during pregnancy—or later—up to a year after delivery.

Postpartum depression symptoms may include:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Always crying, and usually for no apparent reason
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby : You may feel estranged from your child if you suffer from postpartum depression. It’s possible for you to feel unloving toward your child.
Postpartum psychosis

The two primary signs of psychosis have an impact on a person’s perception of reality and comprehension of their surroundings. They are as follows:

  • Hallucination: In a hallucination, your brain appears to be receiving information from your senses—typically your eyes or ears, though touch hallucinations can also occur occasionally—but it is not receiving any real information. You are unable to distinguish between what is actually happening and a hallucination because what you are seeing or hearing seems real.
  • Delusion: Untrue notions that you cling to tightly are called delusions. When you are deluded, you think something to be true despite significant evidence to the contrary, and you will not alter your mind. Examples include somatic delusions (saying you weren’t pregnant or had no children), control delusions (thinking someone else is in charge of your body), and persecutory delusions (thinking someone is trying to harm you).

Treatment for postpartum psychosis is necessary right away since it might result in behaviors or ideas that endanger life.

Also Read: Understanding and Preventing Perinatal Depression


Postpartum depression is caused by a variety of causes, such as heredity, changes in one’s body, and emotional problems.

  • Physical changes: Postpartum depression may be exacerbated by a sharp decline in estrogen and progesterone levels following childbirth. You may experience a sudden decline in other thyroid-produced hormones as well, which can make you feel lethargic, melancholy, and exhausted.
  • Emotional issues: Lack of sleep and being overwhelmed can make it difficult to manage even small issues. You might worry that you won’t be able to take care of a newborn. It’s possible that you feel less beautiful, that your identity is slipping away from you, or that you no longer have control over your life. Postpartum depression can be exacerbated by any of these problems.

What distinguishes postpartum depression from baby blues

It could be distinguished on the basis of:

  • Timeline: The newborn blues usually subside within two weeks. You do not experience the baby blues if you suddenly start having depressive symptoms for a few weeks or months post giving birth, as the baby blues normally wear off really rapidly. After giving birth, postpartum depression can strike at any time in the first year.
  • Severity of symptoms: This is a bit subjective because what one person views as severe may not be so for another. The baby blues might make you feel nervous and depressed, but they shouldn’t drastically affect your quality of life. Postpartum depression symptoms, on the other hand, are more persistent and won’t go completely on their own. It is not a factor that effortlessly shifts during the course of the day.

How to prevent postpartum depression?

  • Postpartum depression can be prevented in part by utilizing psychoeducation to create supportive networks, regulate stress, and create healthy coping mechanisms. Learning about and comprehending mental health and well-being is necessary for this.
  • It’s comparable to physical education in that you use what you learn about how your body functions, how to take care of it, and the effects of various stresses or strains on your mental health. It’s crucial to have a home support system that takes care of your mental health.
  • Involve your significant other, friends, and family in finding out how they can help you throughout the postpartum phase. Get in touch with friends and relatives ahead of time and let them know how much you appreciate their support before your kid arrives.
  • For those with significant risk factors such as a family or personal history of depression, poor financial status, intimate partner violence, unwanted pregnancy, or stressful life events occurring right now. These interventions include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. To find out more about the options that would be best for you, speak with your healthcare provider.
  • Untreated postpartum depression frequently goes undiagnosed. According to CDC data, over 60% of women with depressed symptoms do not receive a clinical diagnosis, and 50% of women who do receive a diagnosis do not receive therapy.
Combatting Postpartum Depression

This illness has a major influence on public health since it affects mothers’ physical and mental well-being as well as the health of their offspring. Given this, it is essential to understand doable strategies for both treating and avoiding postpartum depression.

There is no one test that can identify postpartum depression or determine whether a woman will experience it, despite the fact that a history of depression may raise the risk. If a woman feels unwell after giving birth, she, her spouse, or other family members are frequently the ones to seek professional medical attention. If a woman is interested in using exercise as an approach to treat depressive symptoms. She may be experiencing during or after pregnancy, she should consult her healthcare professional.

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