Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 179–187

Effects of a Home-based Exercise Intervention on Fatigue in Postpartum Depressed Women: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Maria Dritsa
  • Deborah Da Costa
  • Gilles Dupuis
  • Ilka Lowensteyn
  • Samir Khalifé
Original Article



Fatigue is prevalent during the postpartum period and may be heightened in postpartum depressed women.


To evaluate the efficacy of a home-based exercise intervention in reducing physical and mental fatigue scores in postpartum depressed women.


Eighty-eight women in the postpartum (4–38 weeks) obtaining a score ≥10 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were randomly assigned to a 12-week individualized home-based intervention (n = 46) or a control group (n = 42).

All participants completed a cardiovascular fitness test at baseline. Outcomes were physical and mental fatigue scores and were measured at baseline, posttreatment and 3 months posttreatment.


On the basis of intent-to-treat analyses, compared to the control group, women in the exercise group showed significantly greater reduction in physical fatigue at posttreatment [mean change =  −4.07, (95% CI, (−5.15, −2.98)] and 3 months posttreatment [mean change = −4.24, (95% CI, (−5.36, −3.12)]. Significant reductions in mental fatigue with exercise were observed at posttreatment for women reporting lower physical fatigue at baseline.


Fatigue is a common symptom experienced in the postpartum that can be heightened by depression. The findings show that home-based exercise can reduce physical and mental fatigue in postpartum depressed women.


Fatigue Postpartum depression Home-based exercise 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Dritsa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Deborah Da Costa
    • 2
  • Gilles Dupuis
    • 1
  • Ilka Lowensteyn
    • 2
  • Samir Khalifé
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Division of Clinical EpidemiologyMcGill University Health Centre (MUHC)MontrealCanada
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics & GynecologyRoyal Victoria Hospital MUHCMontrealCanada

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