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  • Janette O'toole

Safe exercise during pregnancy

Sports Medicine Australia have released new guidelines for exercising during and after pregnancy. These guidelines 'Exercise in pregnancy and the post-partum period' look at current research and highlight the benefit of exercise during pregnancy and after birth.

Benefits include

- reduced risk of pregnancy-related conditions such as pre-eclampsia and pregnancy-induced hypertension, and reduced incidence of delivery complications such as caesarean delivery.

Less than 30% of pregnant women in Australia are getting exercising enough

Many women not only reduce the intensity of exercise during pregnancy, but also reduce the frequency and duration of exercise and are not reaching current Australian guidelines. Likewise some women stop all exercise during pregnancy. This may be due to lack of knowledge regarding what is safe.

The new guidelines focus on safe levels of exercise for healthy women. Therefore regular check up with your midwife or doctor are important as exercise is not recommended for all pregnant women.

The guidelines recommend:

- 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity on most days

· Walking, jogging, cycling and swimming (at moderate intensity)

- Muscle strengthening exercises (including pelvic floor exercises), water based exercise, and pregnancy-specific exercise classes are safe for pregnant women.

Women who were more sedentary before pregnancy should be encouraged to be more active during pregnancy, starting with gentle walking or swimming and building up gradually to more moderate intensity exercise.

Healthy pregnant women who regularly exercised before pregnancy, can continue to be active during pregnancy, unless it becomes uncomfortable to do so.

Returning to physical exercise after having a baby has been shown to help with new mum's physical health, mental health and general well being.


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