Pregnancy is a unique period of a woman’s life, where lifestyle behaviours, including physical activity can significantly affect your health, as well as that of the fetus. It can be a challenging time to be active and many women are unsure of what is recommended in terms of exercise when expecting. Although guidelines around the world recommend women without contraindications engage in prenatal physical activity, fewer than 15% of women will actually achieve the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity during their pregnancy.
The key recommendations from the 2019 Canadian guidelines for physical activity throughout pregnancy are:
1: All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy.
2: Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complication.
3: Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week, however, being active every day is encouraged.
4: Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training.
5: Pelvic Floor muscle training may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Instruction on the proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefits.
6: Pregnant woman who experience light-headedness, nausea or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should change and avoid this position.
Pilates classes can be a nice way to keep active and here at Peak physio we have small Pilates class sizes of 3 people to ensure that the workouts are tailored to your needs.
It is always important to consult your doctor if you are considering starting to exercise to ensure that you have no contraindications. The Canadian guidelines outline that women with absolute contraindications (see below) may continue their usual activities of daily living but should not participate in more strenuous activities. Women with relative contraindications should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity with their obstetric care provider prior to participation.
The following are absolute contraindications to exercise:
- Ruptured membranes.
- Premature labour.
- Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding.
- Placenta praevia after 28 weeks’ gestation.
- Incompetent cervix.
- Intrauterine growth restriction.
- High-order multiple pregnancy (eg, triplets).
- Uncontrolled type I diabetes.
- Uncontrolled hypertension.
- Uncontrolled thyroid disease.
- Other serious cardiovascular, respiratory or systemic disorder.
The following are relative contraindications to exercise:
- Recurrent pregnancy loss.
- Gestational hypertension.
- A history of spontaneous preterm birth.
- Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disease.
- Symptomatic anaemia.
- Eating disorder.
- Twin pregnancy after the 28th week.
- Other significant medical conditions.owing as contraindications to exercising when pregnant:
While exercising is helpful during pregnancy it is always important to listen to your body and consult with your medical health professional on a regular basis especially if you have any concerns.
Get in touch with us if you would like more information on our antenatal classes starting Friday 5th April 2019.
Here is the link to the Canadian guidelines if you would like more information: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/52/21/1339