BACKGROUND: Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 10-15% of new mothers annually. The maternal mental health field is rapidly evolving, but little is known about the effect of perinatal physical activity (PA) on maternal mental health outcomes. In response, the proposed study aims to evaluate the relationship between perinatal PA status and postpartum depression scores. METHODS: The proposed cohort study will use data from pregnant individuals (n=840) enrolled in the Mother and Infant Determinants of Vascular Aging Study (MIDAS) to evaluate the relationship between self-reported perinatal (i.e. third trimester, six months postpartum, change score) PA level and depression scores six months postpartum in high (e.g., gestational diabetes, hypertension)- and low-risk pregnancies. PA during the third trimester and six months postpartum will be evaluated using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-27). Depression scores at six months postpartum will be evaluated using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). The relationship between perinatal PA and postpartum depression scores will be assessed using multiple regression. IPAQ-27 scores during the third trimester, six months postpartum, and the PA change score will serve as main independent variables and EPDS score will be the dependent variable. Pregnancy risk group (high, low) and sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)) will be included as effect modifiers. This model will control for potential confounding variables, including education, age, number of prior pregnancies and births, and maternal mental health history. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: We anticipate a significant inversely linear relationship between perinatal PA level and postpartum depression scores indicating a protective effect of high perinatal PA levels, with a more pronounced effect in high-risk pregnancies and among individuals with better sleep quality. Findings from this study will support future research on perinatal PA and maternal mental health. Next steps may involve incorporating wearable technology to capture objective PA data, evaluating environmental factors related to PA levels and postpartum depression scores, and using geographical data to quantitatively evaluate access to mental healthcare.

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