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