Researchers have found that new mums could beat postnatal depression with the help of a physiotherapist-led exercise and education program on wellbeing.
In the study, researchers divided 161 postnatal women with no previous depressive symptoms were in two separate groups to test the effect of the program.
The experimental group received an eight-week "Mother and Baby" program, including specialized exercises provided by a women's health physiotherapist combined with parenting education.
In the second group, "Education Only" participants only received the written educational material.
The participants of both groups were assessed for psychological wellbeing (using the Positive Affect Balance Scale), depressive symptoms (using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale) and physical activity levels at baseline, after completing the program at eight weeks and then four weeks after completion.
"There were significant improvements in wellbeing scores and depressive symptoms in the "Mother and Baby" group compared with the "Education Only" group over the study period," said study coordinator, Ms Emily Norman of the University of Melbourne's Physiotherapy Department.
"This positive effect continued four weeks after completion of the program. The number of women identified as "at risk" for postnatal depression pre-intervention was reduced by 50 percent in the Mother and Baby group by the end of the intervention," she added.
Professor Mary Galea, of the University's Physiotherapy Department and senior author of the study said: "By improving new mothers' wellbeing, this physiotherapy-based program has been shown to have a real impact on reducing the risk of PND."
"However, further study is needed to explore whether the intervention effects and improved well being are maintained beyond the first three months," she said.
The study was published in the latest issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association.