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.