Effects of postpartum exercise program on fatigue and depression during "doing-the-month" period

J Nurs Res. 2008 Sep;16(3):177-86. doi: 10.1097/01.jnr.0000387304.88998.0b.


This study explored the effectiveness of an exercise program on reducing levels of fatigue and depression among postpartum women who were "doing-the-month" in a maternity center in Taiwan. Previous studies related to postpartum have focused on depression rather than women's feelings of fatigue, and no study related to exercise has previously been conducted in a Taiwan maternity center. A low-intensity exercise program was specifically designed and administered to 31 subjects in the study's intervention group. Another 30 subjects (the control group) followed a traditional, non-physically active postpartum care regimen. Those in the intervention group were required to participate in at least 6 exercise program sessions during their one month postpartum stay. All subjects were asked to fill out a fatigue and depression questionnaire before and after the program. A Fatigue Symptom Checklist (FSC) was used to measure fatigue, and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CESD) was used to confirm the development of depression. Results showed statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of fatigue levels, with statistical improvements (p < .05) registered by the intervention group in terms of levels of physical and psychological fatigue and fatigue symptoms. However, no significant changes in depression between the two groups were found. Study results demonstrate that a low-intensity exercise program can offer a good platform for clinicians and researchers to help reduce fatigue in postpartum women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy*
  • Exercise*
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires