Postnatal women's feeling state responses to exercise with and without baby

Matern Child Health J. 2010 May;14(3):343-9. doi: 10.1007/s10995-009-0462-5. Epub 2009 Mar 27.


Objective: Health research has demonstrated that physical activity during the postnatal period may play a crucial role in managing the physical and psychological challenges that women face during these times of transition. To promote physical activity during the postnatal period, mother-and-baby exercise classes are offered through several health and fitness organizations. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a moderate aerobic exercise session on feeling states when women exercised with their baby present compared to without their baby present.

Methods: Postnatal women (N = 23) participated in two 45-min exercise sessions: one with baby present and one without baby present. Exercise sessions were counterbalanced. The State Scale of the State-trait Anxiety Inventory and the Exercise-induced Feeling Inventory were used to assess feeling states pre- and post-exercise. To examine changes in feeling states during the exercise sessions and whether the changes differed between conditions, five separate mixed model ANCOVAs were conducted.

Results: There were no differences (P > .05) in feeling states when women exercised with or without their babies. However, both exercise conditions, showed significant improvements in feeling states from pre- to post-exercise session (P < or = .001) on the Exercise-induced Feeling Inventory subscales and the State Scale of the State-trait Anxiety Inventory.

Conclusion: Exercising with baby present may be an effective option that allows mothers to balance care duties and a physically active lifestyle, while achieving psychological benefits associated with exercise participation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Emotions
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Life Style
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Puerperal Disorders / diagnosis
  • Puerperal Disorders / prevention & control
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires