Health  Vol.5 No.3 , March 2013
The effects of an exercise program on health-related quality of life in postpartum mothers: A randomized controlled trial

Background and Objective: There is controversy on the psychological effects of postpartum exercise. The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a postpartum exercise program on health-related quality of life and psychological well-being. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in Tokyo, Japan. The intervention groups participated in ball-exercise classes (weekly exercise of 90 minutes for four weeks) at three months postpartum. The exercise class included the following: 1) greeting and warm-up; 2) aerobic exercise involving bouncing on an exercise ball 55 or 65 cm in diameter; 3) rest and self-introduction; 4) stretching and cooling down. The primary outcome measure was health-related Quality of Life (QOL) assessed using the MOS Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36v2). The secondary outcome measures were Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) scores. The intervention group was compared to the control group at four months postpartum. Results: Of the 120 women screened, 110 women met the study criteria. Nine could not be included and the remaining 101 were allocated randomly into intervention and control groups (50 and 51 participants respectively). Analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline values indicated that the SF36 subscales of physical functioning (p = 0.018) and vitality (p = 0.016) significantly improved in the intervention group compared to the control group, although there were no significant differences between the groups in the SF36 Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores. The RSES increased in the intervention group (p = 0.020) compared to the control group. No significant group differences were observed in EPDS scores. Conclusions: The postpartum exercise class program provided to healthy postpartum women appears to have contributed to promoting health-related QOL and self-esteem.

Cite this paper: Haruna, M. , Watanabe, E. , Matsuzaki, M. , Ota, E. , Shiraishi, M. , Murayama, R. , Yoshida, M. and Yeo, S. (2013) The effects of an exercise program on health-related quality of life in postpartum mothers: A randomized controlled trial. Health, 5, 432-439. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.53058.

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