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Keywords:

  • Pilates;
  • postpartum depression;
  • postpartum exercise;
  • postpartum fatigue;
  • yoga

Aims and objectives

To evaluate the effectiveness of an exercise programme for postpartum women to lose weight and relieve fatigue and depression.

Background

The optimal period for weight loss is six months postpartum. However, most women cannot return to their pre-pregnancy fitness level within that period of time.

Design

A quasi-experimental one-group pretest–post-test design was carried out.

Methods

A convenience sampling method was used to recruit 28 women at 2–6 months postpartum. The ‘Yoga and Pilates Exercise Programme for Postpartum Woman’ was designed for this study and was delivered in group sessions once a week for three months (12 times total) for 60 minutes each time by a professional coach. Of the participants, 23 completed the entire program. The participants' body composition and levels of depression and fatigue were measured before and after the programme to identify differences.

Results

Women in the high-score group showed a significant decrease of 6·71 ± 5·71 points (= 3·113, = 0·021) in the depression score after participating in the exercise programme. No significant difference was found for the level of fatigue before and after the exercise programme (> 0·05). Significant reductions in the participants' body weight, body fat percentage, fat mass and basic metabolic rate were observed after the exercise programme (< 0·001).

Conclusions

These physical activities benefited the physical and mental health of postpartum women and enhanced their quality of life.

Relevance to clinical practice

It is worthwhile promoting a yoga and Pilates exercise programme for postpartum women in communities.