This guideline provide evidence-based recommendations regarding physical activity throughout pregnancy in the promotion of maternal, fetal, and neonatal health. In the absence of contraindications (see later for a detailed list), following this guideline is associated with:
(1) fewer newborn complications (i.e., large for gestational age); and
(2) maternal health benefits (i.e., decreased risk of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, Caesarean section, instrumental delivery, urinary incontinence, excessive gestational weight gain, and depression; improved blood glucose; decreased total gestational weight gain; and decreased severity of depressive symptoms and lumbopelvic pain).
Physical activity is not associated with miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, preterm birth, preterm/prelabour rupture of membranes, neonatal hypoglycemia, low birth weight, birth defects, induction of labour, or birth complications. In general, more physical activity (frequency, duration, and/or volume) is associated with greater benefits. However, evidence was not identified regarding the safety or additional benefit of exercising at levels significantly above the recommendations.
TO BE CONTINUED….
The objective is to provide guidance for pregnant women, and obstetric care and exercise professionals, on prenatal physical activity.
The outcomes evaluated were maternal, fetal, or neonatal morbidity or fetal mortality during and following pregnancy.
Literature was retrieved through searches of Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus and Web of Science Core Collection, CINAHL Plus with Full-text, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, ERIC, Sport Discus, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the Trip Database from database inception up to January 6, 2017. Primary studies of any design were eligible, except case studies. Results were limited to English, Spanish, or French language materials. Articles related to maternal physical activity during pregnancy reporting on maternal, fetal, or neonatal morbidity or fetal mortality were eligible for inclusion. The quality of evidence was rated using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology.
The Guidelines Consensus Panel solicited feedback from end-users (obstetric care providers, exercise professionals, researchers, policy organizations, and pregnant and postpartum women). The development of this guideline followed the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument.
Benefits, harms, and costs
The benefits of prenatal physical activity are moderate, and no harms were identified; therefore, the difference between desirable and undesirable consequences (net benefit) is expected to be moderate. The majority of stakeholders and end-users indicated that following these recommendations would be feasible, acceptable, and equitable. Following these recommendations is likely to require minimal resources from both individual and health systems perspectives.