Exercise vs Pregnancy - The purpose of staying active during pregnancy

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Latest Canadian research on physical activity throughout pregnancy has been able to update the

previous recommendations and guidelines that were previously established 15 years ago. As of the new

researches, prenatal physical activity should be considered a front line therapy for reducing the risk of

pregnancy complications and enhancing maternal physical and mental health.

The new Canadian guideline includes six recommendations; including pregnant women should

get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

Canadian Guideline recommendations:

1. All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy

2. Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical

activity each week

3. Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of three days per week.

However, being active everyday is encouraged

4. Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic exercise and resistance

training activities to achieve greater benefits.

5. Pelvic floor muscle training (e.g. Kegel exercises) may be performed on a daily basis to

reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.

6. Pregnant women who experience light-headedness, experience nausea, or feel unwell

when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the

supine position.

Evidence has found that aerobic and resistance activities are safe for the baby and are not

associated with miss carriage, foetal complication, small baby and preterm birth. It is not only

safe during pregnancy, but is also beneficial in preventing childbirth complications and providing

significant postpartum health benefits.

Prenatal physical activity has potential lifelong health benefits for both, the mother and the child.

It also helps to reduce major complications of pregnancy by 40%, and on long-term

consequences, it helps to reduce cardio vascular disease and hypertension.

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A smart jump into an active lifestyle is recommended for women who were fairly sedentary prior

to being pregnant. Starting with small and attainable objectives like 50min exercise/week can be a

good starting point for those who were inactive.

The most important is to listen to your body and to not push it too much. Specific prenatal workout exists.

Educated trainers can help pregnant women and teach them how to adapt exercises and

modify their training so they can train properly with a changing body.

Modifications to consider while training during your pregnancy:

  • Minimize or avoid high impact exercises (ex : jumping )

  • Avoid exercise that involves physical contact or danger of falling (ex: downhill skiing or

horseback riding)

  • Avoid scuba diving, exercising at a high altitude and in excessive heat

  • Modified Abdominal and CORE exercises

  • Involving the entire CORE unit instead of insulating one group of muscle. It will focus on

the body function and will help it to be ready to give birth.

Keep in mind! You are training for this intense physical activity which involves labour and

birth as your optimal goal. Good biomechanics of the pelvis also helps to facilitate labour and to minimize

complications. Ask your chiropractor what are the specific technics for pregnant women that help

to optimize the pelvis function.

Your sport focused and family chiropractor,

Dr. Valerie Brabant chiropractor, DC

Physiofocus Squamish