Postnatal Depression and Exercise

This week, 6th – 10th June, is infant mental health week, raising awareness of the importance of the first 1001 days of a babies life.

But it’s not just the first 1001 days of a babies life, it’s 1001 days of a mums life, of your life.

    • 1001 days of change
    • 1001 days of learning
    • 1001 days of tiredness
    • 1001 days of adjustment

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For some mums these 1001 days can be dark, scary times. It is difficult to admit that you are struggling to bond with your baby or finding it hard to cope, maybe feelings of being inadequate and overwhelmed and maybe even having thoughts of harming yourself or baby. For some mums the first 1001 days is clouded by Postnatal Depression. PND can also affect dads and the information below is just as relevant. 

Getting through the day with Postnatal Depression is an hour-by-hour task and exercise is often the last thing you feel capable of.

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But exercise can play an important role in the recovery of a parent with PND. Any type of exercise or movement is beneficial as long as its enjoyable. If putting your favourite song on repeat and dancing in the living room feels good, do it every day! Focus on doing what makes you feel good rather than how your body looks.

Exercise and physical activity helps to produce feel good hormones called endorphins. Exercise can also play a big part in your self care or “me” time, giving you time out from the daily routine.

Walking is a great place to start as the fresh air will help boost mood enhancing hormones. Baby can come with you in a sling (which also helps to support bonding and closeness for both parent and baby).

Exercise classes like my Sling Fit and Fit Mums sessions are also a great place to meet new friends and build your confidence and self esteem. The sessions are relaxed, informal and social and you can bring baby along with you.

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Enquire at your local leisure centre if they have an exercise referral scheme. This will give you access to trained fitness professionals who can help to build you a programme in the gym and support you on your recovery.

If you think you may be suffering from PND please read more information on the NHS website or the Tommy’s baby charity website.

I want you speak to your health visitor or GP if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to me if you think you have PND.

I want you to speak to someone if you have PND.

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It’s ok to not be ok. Postnatal Depression is an illness. It says nothing about you or your abilities as a mother. You don’t have to go through it on your own. Please speak to someone.

Kind thanks to Forging Families for the use of their images and infographics.

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