The effect of a home-based exercise intervention on postnatal depression and fatigue: A randomized controlled trial

Int J Nurs Pract. 2015 Oct;21(5):478-85. doi: 10.1111/ijn.12259. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


This study aims to determine the effectiveness of home-based low-intensity stretching and breathing exercises on the reduction of 1 and 2 month post-partum depression (primary outcome) and fatigue (secondary outcome) scores. In this randomized controlled trial, 127 women at 26-32 weeks' gestation with Edinburgh score less than 15, who attended 14 selected health centres in Tabriz, Iran, were randomly allocated into one of the following three groups: no intervention group, group receiving training for exercise during pregnancy, and group receiving training for exercise during pregnancy and post-partum period until 2 months after delivery. Depression and fatigue scores were measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Fatigue Identification Form, respectively, at baseline, 1 month and 2 months after delivery. The data were analysed with SPSS-ver. 13.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL, USA) using chi-square, Fisher's exact and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Mean rank of the difference scores of depression and fatigue were not significantly different among the groups, both at 1 and 2 months post-partum (P > 0.05). Therefore, this study did not provide evidence to show that training women to do the home-based exercises during pregnancy or during pregnancy and post-partum period have a preventive effect on post-partum depression and fatigue. However, more studies are needed for making precise judgment.

Keywords: exercise; postnatal depression; postnatal fatigue.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Exercise*
  • Fatigue / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Young Adult