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Benefits of pregnancy fitness revealed

Thursday July 20th, 2017

Exercising during pregnancy is not only safe - but has significant benefits for the mother, according to the findings of a major UK research study published today.

Researchers found that women who undertook regular moderate exercise - and kept to a healthy diet - enjoyed a reduced rate of caesarean section and reduced risk of weight gain or gestational diabetes.

The findings come from an analysis of some 36 randomised trials involving more than 12,000 women in 16 countries. They are published today in The BMJ.

The researchers say the benefits were found across all groups of women regardless of age, ethnicity or weight.

Researcher Professor Shakila Thangaratinam from the Barts Research Centre for Women's Health, London, said: “Our findings are important because it is often thought that pregnant women shouldn’t exercise because it may harm the baby. But we show that the babies are not affected by physical activity or dieting, and that there are additional benefits including a reduction in maternal weight gain, diabetes in pregnancy, and the risk of requiring a caesarean section.

“This should be part of routine advice in pregnancy, given by practitioners as well as midwives."

She added: "Now that we’re able to link the advice to why it’s beneficial for mothers-to-be, we hope mothers are more likely to adopt these lifestyle changes.”

Effect of diet and physical activity based interventions in pregnancy on gestational weight gain and pregnancy outcomes: meta-analysis of individual participant data from randomised trials BMJ 19 July 2017 [abstract]

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Fitness | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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