Recommendations for physical exercise practice during pregnancy: a critical review.
- 1Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, CE, Brasil.
- 2Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brasil.
- 3Departamento de Tocoginecologia, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brasil.
Physical exercise is recommended for all healthy pregnant women. Regular practice of exercises during pregnancy can provide many physical and psychological benefits, with no evidence of adverse outcomes for the fetus or the newborn when exercise is performed at mild to moderate intensity. However, few pregnant women engage in this practice and many still have fears and doubts about the safety of exercise. The objective of the present study was to inform the professionals who provide care for Brazilian pregnant women about the current recommendations regarding physical exercise during pregnancy based on the best scientific evidence available. In view of the perception that few systematic models are available about this topic and after performing several studies in this specific area, we assembled practical information of interest to both the professionals and the pregnant women. We also provide recommendations about the indications, contraindications, modalities (aerobics, resistance training, stretching and pelvic floor training), frequency, intensity and duration indicated for each gestational trimester. The review addresses physical exercise recommendation both for low risk pregnant women and for special populations, such as athletes and obese, hypertensive and diabetic subjects. The advantages of an active and healthy lifestyle should be always reinforced during and after gestation since pregnancy is an appropriate period to introduce new habits because pregnant women are usually more motivated to adhere to recommendations. Thus, routine exams, frequent returns and supervision are recommended in order to provide new guidelines that will have long-term beneficial effects for both mother and child.
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