Women Health

2019 Guidelines for Physical Activity in Pregnancy - Flow Physio Co Sutherland - Women's Health Physio

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:

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

  2. 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)

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

  4. Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits (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 proper technique is recommended (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)

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.

What is an over-active pelvic floor? Women's Health Wednesday

Pelvic floor post.jpg

This week charlotte, our women's health physio in sutherland, explains AN OVER-ACTIVE PELVIC FLOOR?

Like any muscle in the body it is important that the pelvic floor can both contract and relax.

If you think of your bicep muscle this needs to be able to contract to pick something up and relax to put something down. Imagine if the bicep was contracted all day long, it would be really hard to use your arm functionally and your bicep muscle would not work efficiently. Especially when strength is needed, the pelvic floor is the same.

Some women have pelvic floor muscles which have difficulty relaxing and remain constantly contracted. This however does NOT mean they are strong, imagine how tired they would be when you need them! 



What are the symptoms of an over-active pelvic floor?

Symptoms will vary from person to person, but often include:

  • Pain with sex

  • Pain with using tampons

  • Pain with pap-smears

  • Pelvic or back pain

  • Difficulty emptying bladder or bowel (constipation)

  • Incontinence

  • Increased sensation of needing to urinate


Who is at risk of an over-active pelvic floor? 

People who tend to have a higher risk for an over-active pelvic floor include:

  • People with an overactive bladder, this is due to always needing to squeeze their pelvic floor to minimise leaking

  • Strong athletic women with strong outer core muscles

  • People with anxiety

  • Sedentary work/life style (poor posture can shorten the pelvic floor muscles)

  • Mouth/chest breathers


What is the treatment for an over-active pelvic floor?

Our initial treatment will always look at the way you breathe!

If you imagine your core and trunk muscles as a box, your pelvic floor is the base of your core with your transverse abdominus being the walls and your diaphragm muscle (breathing muscle) being the ceiling.

It is really important that all aspects of your core are working efficiently. If you are always breathing through your mouth, with a chest pattern of breathing the pelvic floor does not have a chance to relax.

Diaphragmatic breathing or “belly” breathing is essential as this allows the pelvic floor to descend and relax. 



Can I still do pilates with an over-active pelvic floor?

Yes! However more focus should be on the strength of your muscles (not including your pelvic floor initially) therefore you should not actively contract your pelvic floor during initial pilates sessions. 

As symptoms decrease, we start to add in a graded strengthening program for you pelvic floor

Post Natal / Mums and Bubs Pilates Sutherland


MUMS & BUBS PILATES | Monday & Thursday, 11:15am at Flow Physio Co Sutherland

Postnatal Pilates usually begins 6 weeks after the birth of your child.

Prior to commencing classes, we offer a 6 week postpartum check where we thoroughly examine the integrity of your pelvic floor and transverse abdominus (deep core muscle). We will also check for a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation), wound check if you have had a Caesarean and a general assessment to ensure you are safe to return to exercise.

Following the 6 week check we recommend joining the Mums and Bubs Pilates class. This class has a maximum capacity of 2 people which allows room for you to bring your baby and allows the Physiotherapist to monitor you more closely. 

This session will be 50 minutes.