How Exercise Can Boost Mental Health During Postpartum Depression
Exercise is known to have many physical benefits, including improved quality of life and reduced risk of chronic disease. As most individuals know, exercise helps improve physical health and has mental health benefits. Exercise can help by improving self-esteem and cognitive function, as well as reducing mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Exercise plays a role in mental health care by increasing blood circulation to the brain leading to a reduced reactive response to stressors. Despite the most recent research, exercise is often underutilized as an intervention regarding mental health, specifically in the postpartum population.
Returning to Exercise Postpartum
After giving birth, a lot of questions arise on how to return to a workout program safely once cleared by your doctor. Every birth is different (vaginal delivery vs caesarian section), so it’s important to discuss with your doctor before returning to exercise. Typically, walking and gentle exercises are permitted immediately after birth, but most doctors do not clear women for impact activities until at least 6 weeks postpartum. Certain women’s recoveries will be longer, and it is important to ease into abdominal strengthening. Starting a vigorous workout too early can cause problems such as incontinence or prolapse of the pelvic floor (when organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position).