OTTAWA (ONTARIO) October 18, 2018 – Physical activity is a critical component of achieving a healthy pregnancy according to a new joint Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) evidence-based pregnancy & physical activity guideline. Following the guideline can reduce the risk of pregnancy-related illness such as depression by at least 25 percent, and the risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia by 40 percent.
“To develop the recommendations in this guideline, a pan-Canadian consensus panel reviewed over 25,000 studies examining the impact of prenatal exercise on maternal/fetal health outcomes,” says Margie Davenport, guidelines co-lead author and chair, associate professor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation. “The evidence demonstrated the health benefits and safety of being physically active throughout pregnancy for both mother and baby.”
To achieve clinically meaningful health benefits, the guideline encourages pregnant women without any medical restriction to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week over a minimum of three days per week. For greater benefits being active every day and incorporating a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities is encouraged. The 150 minutes of activity can include walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and resistance training.
“Physical activity needs to be considered a front-line strategy for enhancing maternal physical and mental health. Clinicians, practitioners and qualified exercise professionals all play an important role in helping women understand the recommendations and the benefits of being physically active throughout pregnancy., says Dr. Panagiota (Nota) Klentrou, Chair, CSEP Board of Directors. “At CSEP we are proud to be part of the development of these evidence-informed clinical practice guidelines. The rigorous process to develop the guidelines has ensured solid evidence and recommendations that will improve the health outcomes of Canadians.”
To download a copy of the complete 2019 Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy visit www.csep.ca/guidelines.
“The guideline is a collation of the most thorough review of the literature around exercise in pregnancy ever published. Canadian women and their obstetric care providers now have reliable evidence that not only is exercise safe in pregnancy but improves key pregnancy outcomes. All women in Canada, without contraindication, should be strongly encouraged to participate in exercise on a regular basis throughout pregnancy,” says Gregory Davies, SOGC, clinician and Guidelines Consensus Panel.
The Guidelines Consensus Panel included researchers from the University of Alberta, Western University, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, University of Ottawa, and La Universidad Pliténcia de Madrid; representatives from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine, Exercise is Medicine Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Canadian Association of Midwives, Middlesex- London Health Unit.
The guideline background research is available in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the Guideline development process paper and the guideline is available in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada.