Walking is one of the exercises that doctors say are critical to a healthy pregnancy. (iStock)

Pregnant women urged to exercise

Physical activity is a “critical component” of achieving a healthy pregnancy, say doctors and researchers in Canada. This is one step up from their previously calling exercise “a recommended behaviour.”

A review of 25,000 studies done at Western University was used to develop guidelines which can reduce the risk of pregnancy-related illness such as depression by at least 25 per cent as well as reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia by 40 per cent.

Resistance training is encouraged for pregnant women. (iStock)

Active every day is best

Pregnant women with no medical restriction are advised to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week over a minimum of three days per week.

The guidelines suggest even more benefit would be gained from being active every day through a variety of aerobic activities, and resistance training is encouraged. The examples of activity given are walking, swimming and stationary cycling.

The guidelines are available to the public for free and were launched jointly by Western University,The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

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