Does Exercise Reduce Anxiety During Pregnancy?
May 28, 2021As a soon-to-be mom, you do everything you can to take care of yourself and your baby, including eating healthy foods and taking your vitamins. Regular exercise during this unique time in your life can also help keep you healthy by reducing back pain, promoting healthy weight gain, easing constipation, and improving your overall general fitness.1 But you may not know that exercise during pregnancy can also help your mental health so you can better cope with feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that pregnancy may bring.
Depressive Disorders During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of change: in your body, in your feelings, and your everyday life. So, of course, it’s reasonable to experience depressive disorders, including anxiety and panic attacks. Research shows that the percentage of women who develop depressive orders during pregnancy can fluctuate by trimester. In the first trimester, depression occurs in about 7.4% of women, in the second trimester in about 12.8%, and in the third trimester in about 12.0%.2
Know the Symptoms
During pregnancy, anxiety can often go undetected. Its symptoms may mirror those that many women experience while pregnant, including worrying more than usual, an inability to concentrate, irritability, muscle tension, restlessness, and poor sleep. In some expectant mothers, anxiety can reach higher levels, including compulsive worry, that may require medical assistance. For many who experience general levels of anxiety or stress, staying active can help!
Reduce Your Risk with Exercise
Engaging in physical activity to reduce your risk of developing anxiety or to manage anxiety during pregnancy is backed by multiple research studies. In fact, one study found that the less active you are, the lower your mood can go.3
Which activity you choose depends on you. A good rule of thumb is finding something you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it. Here are physical activities that are generally considered safe during pregnancy.4
- Swimming. Supports the weight of the baby and is easy on joints, muscles, and lower back.
- Yoga. Encourages relaxation and draws on inner peace to help quiet the worry. Look for a prenatal yoga class or poses you can do at home.
- Walking. Doesn’t have to be all about power strides to make a difference. A brisk, easy pace is safe for your joints and muscles.
- Lifting weights. Builds muscle to keep bones strong. Don’t have access to light to medium weights? Using bodyweight can be just as effective.
- Stationary biking. Provides a great way to stay active, with less risk of falling compared to a traditional bike.
- Ellipticals or treadmills. Offers low-impact aerobic benefits with less strain on your joints.
According to research published in the journal Medicina, physical activity at least once a week significantly reduces the symptoms of depressive disorders in pregnant women.3 But the World Health Organization, in the same study, recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Remember, not every exercise is safe for all women, so moms-to-be, check with your doctor before taking up any form of physical activity.
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is brought to you by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.