Research Nerd Alert!

Some people still think that pregnant women shouldn’t exercise. BIGGEST MYTH EVER!!!

There is so much good evidence about the importance of exercise for pregnant women. Dr. Michelle Mottola, Director of the Exercise and Pregnancy Lab at Western University, and her team, have been researching this topic for decades.

Here are their most recent guidelines and recommendations:

  1.  All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence. (Later in the article they go on to define what contraindications are).
  2. Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 min of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complications. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence.
  3. Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week; however, being active every day is encouraged. Strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence.
  4. Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits. Adding yoga and/or gentle stretching may also be beneficial. Strong recommendation, high-quality evidence.
  5. Pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) (eg, Kegel exercises) may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Instruction on the proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefits. Weak recommendation iv , low-quality evidence.
  6. Pregnant women who experience light-headedness, nausea or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the supine position. Weak recommendation, very-low quality evidence.

My thoughts on recommendation #5 regarding Kegels: get your pelvic floor checked first to see what your natural resting state is. Kegels every day may not be helpful for you if you carry a lot of tension in your pelvic floor. In that case, it’d be more helpful to for labour to learn how to relax and lengthen your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor (part of a strong body) is great for birth overall, but a non-relaxing pelvic floor is not helpful in childbirth and delivery.