Guidelines for Physical Activity in Pregnancy
2019 Canadian Consensus Statement
The 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity in Pregnancy provide guidance for pregnant women, obstetric care and exercise professionals on prenatal exercise.
The guidelines provide evidence based recommendations regarding physical activity throughout pregnancy in the promotion of maternal, foetal and neonatal health.
The Benefits of Being Active through Pregnancy
In the absence of contraindication, following these guidelines is associated with fewer newborn complications and maternal health benefits such as:
Decreased risk of gestational diabetes and preecplamsia
Less risk of Instrumented-assisted delivery; and
Decreased risk urinary incontinence post birth
What is Recommended?
The guidelines make 4 strong recommendations and 2 weak recommendations:
All women without contraindications should be physically active throughout pregnancy (Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)
Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 of moderately intense physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reduction in pregnancy complications (Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)
Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week, however being active everyday is encouraged (Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)
Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits (Strong recommendation, high-quality evidence)
Pelvic floor muscle training may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence - instruction on proper technique is recommended (Weak recommendation, low-quality evidence)
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)
Enhancing maternal health and reducing pregnancy complications
In conclusion prenatal exercise should be therefore considered the front line therapy for reducing the risk of pregnancy complications and enhancing maternal physical and mental health.
What should you do?
You should check with your obstetric care provider or Women’s Health Physio to make sure you don’t have any contraindications to exercise and enjoy the wonderful benefits of being active through pregnancy.