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Move Your Mood: How Exercise Fights Prenatal and Postnatal Depression

Updated: Jun 6


Feeling down during pregnancy? You're not alone. Prenatal depression affects many expecting mothers, but there are steps you can take to feel better. This article explores the connection between exercise and mood, specifically how pregnancy workouts incorporating exercises on a ball can help manage symptoms of prenatal depression.


We'll delve into common prenatal depression symptoms and introduce you to safe and effective exercise ball exercises you can do at home.



PRENATAL-DUMBELL-WORKOUT-FOR-PREGNANCY-DEPRESSION

Understanding Prenatal & Postnatal Depression


Prenatal and postnatal depression are two distinct conditions with different symptoms. They can affect women during childbirth and motherhood. Here's a breakdown of their Key Differences:


  • Timing: Prenatal depression occurs before childbirth, while postnatal depression arises after giving birth.


  • Symptoms: While both pregnancy and PPD can involve mood swings and fatigue, postnatal depression typically has more severe and persistent symptoms. These can include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, difficulty sleeping or eating changes, and even thoughts of harming oneself or the baby.


  • Causes: Pregnancy is a natural biological process, while postnatal depression is likely caused by a combination of hormonal changes, emotional stress, lack of sleep, and physical changes after childbirth



Pregnancy Workouts: Myth or Must? Unveiling the Benefits of Exercise


As I always recommend to my pregnant clients, it is important to try to stay as fit as possible during this journey.


During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes lots of changes, which sometimes may cause some physical health problems and, in some cases, can lead to prenatal depression.


There is evidence that regular pregnancy exercise can help to improve posture, therefore decreasing common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue, while building more stamina needed for labour and delivery.


Pregnancy exercises can also help to relieve stress and defeat pregnancy depression as you feel more connected with yourself and your baby embracing this wonderful change.


Before starting any workout plan, ask your doctor or midwife whether you can incorporate pregnancy exercises such as strength and aerobic training.



Move with Confidence: Safe and Effective Pregnancy Workout Ideas


Throughout my pregnancy, I found this fantastic free workout plan that helped me stay active and manage my changing body. It's safe, free, and offers manageable routines that fit easily into a busy schedule. Get ready for Labour!


Here are some of the workout videos:


Pregnancy Workout for Love Handles



Pregnancy Booty workout



If you would like more ideas, visit our YouTube Pregnancy Exercises Playlist.



Beyond Bouncing: The Remarkable Benefits of Pregnancy Ball Exercises


An exercise pregnancy ball can be your versatile companion for a smoother workout and combat prenatal and postnatal depression! These giant balls offer a surprising range of benefits for moms-to-be:


  • Balance & Posture: Maintain good form and ease back pain as your baby grows.


  • Flexibility Boost: Gentle stretches and workouts on a pregnancy exercise ball can improve movement and prepare for childbirth.


  • Stronger Core: Pregnancy exercise ball workouts engage your core muscles. As a result, you develop more stability and support your growing belly.


  • Stress Relief and Relaxation: Gentle bouncing and rocking motions on the ball can be surprisingly calming. So it can help to combat prenatal and postnatal depression in a Fun & Engaging way.


  • Pelvic Floor Power: A workout on a pregnancy ball can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and prevent pelvic girdle pain. You may also perform specific pelvic floor exercises, to strengthen these muscles, which are so vital for childbirth and recovery.



Watch this full body exercises routine on a Pregnancy ball:




Move Your Body, Heal Your Mind: Why Exercise Matters for Postnatal Depression


Giving birth is a transformative experience, but it can also leave you feeling physically depleted and emotionally vulnerable. Sometimes, this may lead to postnatal depression, characterised by low mood, fatigue, and anxiety.


But here's the good news: postnatal exercise is a powerful tool for promoting both physical and mental well-being after childbirth. It doesn't have to be strenuous; even gentle movement can bring a multitude of benefits:


  • Taking it Slow is Key: First of all remember that new mothers should always be realistic and patient, and you will need to wait for your doctor to give you the OK before starting any postnatal exercises.


  • Postnatal Depression? You're Not Alone: Unlike prenatal depression, postnatal depression is a more common challenge, affecting over 1 in every 10 women in the UK, according to NHS. Exercise regularly can truly help you to get through this challenge and boost your mood. 


  • Start Gentle, Build Gradually: Start postnatal exercises slowly and don't push yourself too hard initially. You could start by taking a 5-minute walk and see how you feel. If nothing bleeds, pulls, or aches, take a 6-minute walk tomorrow and a 7-minute walk the next day, building it up a little more day after day. 


  • Seek Expert Support: Birth and pregnancy can put a lot of strain on your body and it is really important to be guided by someone who is specialised in assisting women postpartum,  understands what you may go through and is able to advise you along the way. 


  • Take It To The Next Level: If you are strong enough to start again strength training, consider a postnatal exercise plan designed specifically for new moms. This provides a safe and effective way to progress your fitness journey.


  • My Postnatal Journey: During my recovery, I found this 12-week postnatal workout program incredibly helpful! It offers safe, 30-minute workouts 4 times a week, targeting Diastasis Recti and promoting weight loss and fitness recovery. Plus, it includes full-length workout videos and nutritional/nursing guidance! For a taste, check out this quick Diastasis Recti healing workout. Enjoy!





Unwinding and More: How Massage Fits into a Stress and Depression Management Plan


Pregnancy Treatments


Pregnancy is a time of immense joy and anticipation. However, it's also a period of significant physical and emotional changes. Several changes occur in the body during pregnancy.


These changes can cause discomfort and stress, potentially leading to prenatal depression symptoms. This is especially true when coupled with existing stressors like work, family, or finances.


Prenatal acupuncture and massage can help relieve these symptoms of depression while improving the quality of life for both mother and baby.


pregnant-woman-back-massage

Here's a breakdown of their main benefits:


  • Improved Sleep: The feeling of relaxation can promote better sleep, crucial for expectant mothers. In fact, these holistic therapies release endorphins, natural mood lifters, which can further enhance your sleep quality. Therefore you may feel more rested in the morning and enjoy a more energized and joyful pregnancy journey.


  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Both treatments are incredibly calming. Therefore, they are great for combating prenatal depression symptoms and promoting overall well-being. Research even suggests that stress reduction during pregnancy can lead to a smoother delivery.


  • Relaxation for Mothers and Babies: These therapies help to deepen the bond with your baby and create a sense of calm which surely is felt by the little one too!


Book a Pregnancy Massage London or Acupuncture session and enjoy some deserved me-time to reconnect to yourself and your growing baby.





Postnatal treatments


Complementary therapies like postnatal massage and acupuncture can offer valuable support. These approaches can create a holistic support system, helping new mothers find their path back to emotional well-being and embrace the joy of motherhood.


Some of the main benefits may include:




 

So.. what are you waiting for? Try these easy, safe and really fun exercises and treatments to defeat pregnancy & postnatal depression for good!


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