Pregnancy and especially childbirth represent moments of great emotional lability in pregnant women that can alter their normal development. The risks, alterations and consequences are many, affecting not only the maternal wellbeing, but also the newborn.
Among the most common complications is maternal depression, which is currently growing. In this sense, recent publications report a prevalence of between 5% and 20% of perinatal depression.
New research reveals that women who participate in a group exercise program throughout pregnancy reduce the risk of suffering from perinatal depression by more than 40%. The study consisted of a randomized clinical trial conducted with 124 healthy pregnant women.
Women who perform physical exercise throughout pregnancy reduce the risk of suffering from perinatal depression by more than 40%.
The results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, are part of a doctoral thesis of Marina Vargas Terrones, from the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM).
In the opinion of the author, “it has been scientifically proven that the benefits of group and moderate physical exercise during pregnancy go beyond the physiological field and should also be used as an element to prevent emotional disturbances during pregnancy.”
“The expectations of possible benefits generated by moderate physical exercise during pregnancy for maternal, fetal and newborn well-being are incalculable, and at the same time significantly hopeful. It is necessary to continue researching in this field,” explains Ruben Barakat, researcher at the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences-INEF of the UPM and director of the study.
The research also included the participation of professionals of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service from the University Hospital of Torrejón, and a researcher from the University of Western Ontario (Canada).
Benefits of physical exercise in pregnancy
The Physical Activity Group in Specific Populations (AFIPE) of the INEF-UPM has been working for more than 15 years in collaboration with the Gynecology and Obstetrics Services of various university hospitals in the Community of Madrid, as well as with foreign universities (Argentina, Canada ), studying the effects of physical exercise during the pregnancy on maternal, fetal and newborn responses. The next step for this team is trying to know those effects in the first years of children’s life.