Staying Active During Your Pregnancy

I have always been interested in prenatal fitness. It’s a time in a women’s life that there are so many changes that are not only happening physically but emotionally as well and I have been intrigued to educate myself on different ways to keep women active and healthy during pregnancy.

The new 2019 Canadian Guidelines for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy recently was published by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) that brought light to the benefits of exercising while pregnant and confirmed by beliefs and educating women to  stay active during this time in their lives.

Here is the recommendations according to the guidelines:

Recommendations

1. All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence.

2. Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 min of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complications. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence.

3. Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week; however, being active every day is encouraged. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence.

4. 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. Strong recommendation, high-quality evidence.

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. Weak recommendation, low-quality evidence.

6. 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. Weak recommendation, very-low quality evidence.

According to the research, only 2/10 women are actually meeting the required recommendations of 150 mins/ week of physical activity during pregnancy.  We need to change this and educate the public as to why women need to include physical activity as part of their daily routine.

BENEFITS of Physical Activity during Pregnancy in the Absence of Contraindications:

According to the guideline:

– Fewer newborn complications

– Decreased risk of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, Caesarean section, instrumental delivery, urinary incontinence, excessive gestational weight gain, and depression; improved blood glucose; decreased total gestational weight gain; and decreased severity of depressive symptoms and lumbopelvic pain.

– Physical activity is NOT associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm birth, preterm/prelabour rupture of membranes, neonatal hypoglycemia, low birth weight, birth defects, induction of labour, or birth complications.

Contraindications

Women with absolute contraindications may continue their usual activities of daily living but should not participate in more strenuous physical activity.

ABSOLUTE contraindications to exercise:

  • Ruptured membranes.

  • Premature labour.

  • Unexplained persistent vaginal bleeding.

  • Placenta praevia after 28 weeks’ gestation.

  • Pre-eclampsia.

  • 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.

 

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.

RELATIVE  contraindications to exercise:

  • Recurrent pregnancy loss.

  • Gestational hypertension.

  • A history of spontaneous preterm birth.

  • Mild/moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disease.

  • Symptomatic anaemia.

  • Malnutrition.

  • Eating disorder.

  • Twin pregnancy after the 28th week.

  • Other significant medical conditions.

 

So unless you have a contraindication that prevents you from being physically active for 150 minutes/ week during your pregnancy, you should get moving! Start slowly and build yourself if you haven’t exercised before, and if you have you should still be mindful of the changes that are happening to your body and choose exercises accordingly.

Contact a educated and certified prenatal fitness instructor to help guide, educate, motivate and encourage you during this phase of your life.  You will also meet other women in your community to share you journey with … which is always amazing to make connections and meet new mom friends!

 

If you have any questions about Prenatal Fitness, please contact me! I love inspiring and educating women on their health and wellness journey, no matter what phase they are in!

 

Momentum Health & Wellness

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