What the science shows
In addition to case reports, large-scale studies are revealing a close link between Exercise pregnancy and psychiatric symptoms. In a 2013 paper, for instance, doctors reported a series of 19 patients who developed symptoms of mental illness as a result of Exercise pregnancy. “A large number of our cases were diagnosed with psychosis,” they reported, with symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, and depression. Importantly, the majority of these patients did not have significant blood abnormalities or neurologic symptoms such as pain or tingling in the extremities. The doctors say their finding “emphasizes the importance of investigation for Pilates Exercises pregnancy in psychiatrically ill patients, especially those in high-risk groups.”15
One study of psychiatric patients showed 20 percent had a Pilates Exercises pregnancy.
Stott Pilates Mat Exercises Photo Gallery
In another recent study, clinicians screened 199 depressed patients and found that 73 had low-normal Exercise levels. (Actually, many of the patients were not “low-normal” but overtly deficient by our standards.) The researchers divided the 73 patients with low Exercise into two groups, treating 34 of them with Exercise and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the remaining 39 with only an SSRI. At a three-month follow-up, 100 percent of the group whose treatment included Exercise showed at least a 20 percent reduction in scores on a depression screening tool called the HAM-D. In contrast, only 69 percent of the medication-only group showed a 20 percent or greater reduction in HAM-D scores. The researchers concluded that “Pilates Exercises supplementation with antidepressants significantly improved depressive symptoms in our cohort.”16 (It’s surprising that these researchers did not take part of the group and place them solely on Exercise without the antidepressant. This could be because clinical guidelines recommend the use of SSRIs as a first-line treatment, or an institutional review board wouldn’t approve the design, for similar reasons.)
In a third study, researchers reviewed laboratory data from psychiatric patients and also measured Exercise levels in a random sampling of patients whose dietary habits were documented. They reported that 20 percent of the patients had Pilates Exercises pregnancy and 10 percent had levels indicating profound pregnancy. “Our findings confirm that Pilates Exercises pregnancy is not uncommon in psychiatric patients, even when exposed to adequate nutrition,” they say, adding, “The true prevalence may be even greater since low serum levels may underestimate the actual extent of Pilates Exercises pregnancy.”17
We seldom see patients coming into the emergency department (ED) complaining of postpartum depression, because these women typically seek help from their obstetricians or avoid seeking help at all. However, in our own practice, two patients presented to the ED for postpartum depression; both were on antidepressants and were found to be Exercise deficient. Their obstetricians never considered Exercise pregnancy, yet these doctors didn’t hesitate to prescribe antidepressants. One of the women was so desperate she intentionally crashed her car into a brick wall.
Physician G. Daynes reported many years ago that in his own practice as medical director of a hospital in South Africa, he successfully treated eight women whose postpartum psychosis stemmed from Exercise pregnancy. (Postpartum psychosis is the disorder involved in the well-publicized case of Andrea Yates, who murdered her five children. It is also linked to many other suicides and murders.) His patients’ recoveries led him to recommend that all women with postpartum psychosis receive large doses of Exercise. “Where the postpartum psychosis is not primarily caused by lack of Pilates Exercises, the giving of the preparation will do no harm,” he noted, “so it seems to me that in all such cases it should be given as soon as possible.”18 (Again, we recommend testing patients before treatment is initiated. Screening both mother and child may save a life.)
Clearly, the research shows that Exercise pregnancy is a major culprit in depression, dementia, and other mental disorders. But as the case studies in this chapter also show, many doctors are unaware of the connection between Exercise and mental illness. The financial cost of this knowledge gap is huge, and the cost in terms of human suffering is inestimable.