Mamma’s to be- this one’s for you!

The 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy was released last week. The guideline states that prenatal physical activity should be a front-line therapy for reducing the risk of pregnancy complications and enhancement of both the physical and mental health of mamma’s to be!

I’ve attached the link below- if you are expecting it’s worth the full read but I’ve summarized some key points below. Remember these recommendations are basic guidelines; the best way to make informed decisions about your pregnancy is to discuss this with your Obstetrician before beginning an exercise program.

  1. All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy. Note: refer to the guideline for a list of both absolute and relative contraindications.
  2. During the week, pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complications.
  3. It is encouraged that pregnant women be active everyday, however, an accumulation of this physical activity accumulated over at least three days is recommended.
  4. Incorporation of a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities are encouraged to achieve greater benefits. Yoga and gentle stretching may also be beneficial here.
  5. Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Get those Kegels going, Mammas!
  6. Pregnant women who experience light-headedness, nausea, or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify this position. Remember to listen to your bodies and if something ever feels off- stop, and talk to your doctor.

Some additional precautions that pregnant women should take are also worth mentioning:

  • Avoid physical activity in excessive heat and humidity.
  • Avoid activities that involve physical contact or risk of falling.
  • Avoid scuba diving.
  • Avoid physical activity at high altitudes in lowlander women (living below 2500m).
  • Those considering athletic competition or exercise significantly above the recommended guidelines should seek supervision from their Obstetrician.
  • Remember to drink water before, during, and after physical activity in addition to maintaining adequate nutrition.
  • Know the reasons to stop exercising (found in the guideline below) and consult a qualified health care provider immediately if they occur.

So you’re pregnant and want to start exercising- where is the best place to start?

If you were inactive prior to becoming pregnant but are interested in starting an exercise program, it is encouraged that you do so gradually. This can be done by starting at a lower intensity and increasing the duration and intensity as the pregnancy progresses. If you’re unsure how to start this routine, consult with both your Obstetrician and an exercise professional to identify and overcome any barriers to participation. And remember- even a simple walk can have positive benefits to you and your growing babe!