A Cross-Sectional Study Examining the Association between Physical Activity and Perinatal Depression

Medicina (Kaunas). 2022 Aug 29;58(9):1174. doi: 10.3390/medicina58091174.


Background and Objectives: International organisations recommend that women without illness should have regular moderate-intensity physical exercise throughout their pregnancy and postpartum period as a measure to prevent possible pathologies in both the mother and the newborn. Physical activity during pregnancy reduces the likelihood of depression during pregnancy and after childbirth, benefiting both the pregnant woman and the foetus. However, most pregnant women are known to be inactive. The Pregnancy Physical Activity Questionnaire (PPAQ) analyses the level of physical activity of pregnant women. These data are correlated with the variable depression, for which the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) during pregnancy was used. Materials and Methods: The research employed a cross sectional study design on ninety-nine pregnant women. Results: The data on physical activity in relation to depression in those pregnant women who had not previously suffered from depression were 719.29 METS min/wk compared with 624.62 METS min/wk in those who had. And for pregnant women who suffered from depression at the time of the study, their physical activity was 698.25 METS min/wk, while those who did not suffer from depression reached 826.57 METS. Conclusions: Pregnant women without depression are much more active. A favourable employment situation or a high level of education is directly related to higher physical activity. Physical activity and higher energy expenditure occur at home, as opposed to activity carried out as transport, exercise or at work.

Keywords: gestational depression; maternal and child health; physical activity; pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women
  • Sedentary Behavior

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.