All around there is still a lot of confusion regarding this topic, the physical activity during Pregnancy is still seen as something of harmful.
What is the reality?
Physical activity during Pregnancy, should be considered a front-line therapy for reducing the risk of pregnancy complications, and enhancing maternal physical and mental health.
Eradicate some myths around this topic, physical activity is not associated with:
- neonatal death,
- preterm birth,
- rupture of membranes,
- neonatal hypoglycemia,
- low birth weight,
- birth defects,
- induction of labour,
- birth complications.
What are instead the benefits of physical activity during Pregnancy?
1)Fewer new-born complications (i.e., large for gestational age);
2)Maternal health benefits:
- decreased risk of preeclampsia,
- gestational hypertension,
- gestational diabetes,
- caesarean section,
- instrumental delivery,
- urinary incontinence,
- excessive gestational weight gain,
- improved blood glucose,
- decreased severity of depressive symptoms,
- decreased severity lumbopelvic pain.
This guideline provides 6 key points:
- All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy. It means all in the same way? Certainly no, a lot depends on the previous level of physical activity.
- Pregnant women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve the above-mentioned benefit. Same here depending on the previous level of activity the intensity and the time should be adjusted.
- Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of three days per week; however, being active every day is encouraged. Then we will have a minimum of physical activity for 50min for 3 times a week.
- Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits.Adding yoga and/or gentle stretching may also be beneficial.This point underlines the need to have a complete training program, without be fearful to use weight training during the Pregnancy.
- Pelvic floor muscle training (e.g., Kegel exercises) may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Instruction in proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefits. A good book regarding Kegel exercises is this one: https://amzn.to/2L6jROK
- Pregnant women who experience light headedness, nausea or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the supine position.
Mottola MF et al(2019), Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy