There is a lot of conflicting advice on exercise during pregnancy so deciphering accurate and up to date information on the safe limits can be confusing.
It is important to remember that exercise is essential throughout our lives, inclusive of pregnancy, to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is great for improving muscle tone, strength, and endurance. All of which are required to take on the marathon that is childbirth and the recovery period after. Exercise can also have many other benefits for the Mum to be (Berghella and Saccone, 2017):
- Reduced risk of conditions such as gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia.
- Reduce excessive gestational weight gain.
- Higher incidence of vaginal delivery.
- Lower incidence of preterm birth, lower birth rate and Caesarean section.
The 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy (Mottola et al, 2018) was released with the aim of providing evidence-based guidelines to both pregnant women and health professionals. The rate of complications related to pregnancy have increased and exercise has been suggested as a way of managing these throughout pregnancy.
The guidelines reported a strong recommendation for the following:
- All women (without contraindications) should be active during their pregnancy.
- Pregnant women should accumulate at lease 150 mins of moderate intensity activity per week and that this should be accumulated at least over three days.
- A variety of exercise including aerobic exercise or resistance training should be utilised to gain greater benefits.
If you have been active prior to pregnancy you can continue to be active, but modifications may be required as the pregnancy progresses. If you were previously inactive then it is still encouraged that you start physical activity during pregnancy, but it is important to start gradually and increase the duration and intensity slowly.
There are however some situations in which exercise is contraindicated or precautions need to be taken. If you have any obstetric or medical complications it is important that you discuss these further with your Doctor prior to starting exercise.
If you are looking to become more active during your pregnancy or you would like advice on what exercise is appropriate for you, book an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists at Bend + Mend to get started.
- Berghella, V. and Saccone, G., 2017. Exercise in pregnancy!. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 216(4), pp.335-337.
- Mottola, M., Davenport, M., Ruchat, S., Davies, G., Poitras, V., Gray, C., Jaramillo Garcia, A., Barrowman, N., Adamo, K., Duggan, M., Barakat, R., Chilibeck, P., Fleming, K., Forte, M., Korolnek, J., Nagpal, T., Slater, L., Stirling, D. and Zehr, L., 2018. 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(21), pp.1339-1346.