You are reading Postpartum depression, did you know that physical exercise helps to avoid it?


Postpartum depression, did you know that physical exercise helps to avoid it?

January 1, 2018


Deep sadness, anxiety, fatigue and a sense of inability to cope with the challenges of motherhood are some of the symptoms of post-natal depression, a disorder that affects women in the days after childbirth – explains Dr. Paolo Amami, Humanitas neuro-psychologist and psycho-therapist. – Physical activity, practiced both during pregnancy and after childbirth, if the health conditions allow it, not only helps to reduce the risk of perinatal depression, but also frees the resources of the new mother to accommodate to changes in motherhood. This is even more important because the depressive state also influences the woman’s relationship with the newborn, potentially endangering baby’s both emotional and cognitive developments. Physical exercise, with its effects demonstrated on the organism thanks to the stimulation of the production of endorphins, substances associated with a feeling of well-being, and of some neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine or serotonin, represents one, but not the only one, resource in the treatment of depression. In fact, practicing physical activity influences a woman’s emotional system, improves self-esteem and self-perception, and distracts women from negative thoughts that lead to bent or depressed mood. Do not think, however, that the benefits are a matter of quantity or intensity of physical activity practiced because, as demonstrated in a recent Spanish study, the beneficial effects are always there.

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