Exercise in Pregnancy: Psychological Benefits
Robert Kirkby and Rachael Birmingham
Australian Journal of Primary Health
2(1) 48 - 60
Research findings have indicated that involvement in exercise can be beneficial to a pregnant woman and to the child she is carrying. Despite the apparent importance of this topic, researchers have directed little attention to the behavioural consequences of exercise for pregnant women. Furthermore, most of the investigations in this area have been vulnerable to serious criticisms of design, analysis, or interpretation. Notwithstanding these criticisms, the literature suggests that involvement in exercise during pregnancy is associated with perception of reduced negative symptoms, improvements in general mood, reduced depression, and increased self-esteem. As well, studies of childbirth stress have indicated that women who exercise during pregnancy reported less effort and lowered experience of pain in the birth process. In terms of best clinical practice it was recommended that health professionals should focus on the processes of informing, educating, and encouraging women about exercise in pregnancy, screening at-risk women, and identifying appropriate activities.
Full text doi:10.1071/PY96007
© La Trobe University 1996