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Physical activity guidance issued for pregnant women

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Expectant mothers should undertake 150 minutes of moderate physical activity spread throughout the week, according to guidance released by UK Chief Medical Officers.

The advice, which is being issued in the form of an infographic, is aimed at providing midwives, nurses, GPs, obstetricians, gynaecologists, and the leisure sector, with the latest evidence on physical activity during pregnancy.

Northen Ireland Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, along with his counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, have jointly released the guidance — believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

The recommendations aim to reduce issues such as obesity, diabetes and other health concerns during pregnancy. Approximately one in 20 women are recorded as obese during pregnancy.

Key points in the guidance include: pregnant women who are already active should be encouraged to maintain their physical activity levels; women may need to adapt their activity throughout their pregnancy; those who are not active before pregnancy are advised to avoid intense exercise; pregnant women should avoid activities where there is an increased risk of falling, trauma or high impact injuries.

Dr McBride said: “This new advice for pregnant women is designed to provide practical help about the types of activities that are safe to do during pregnancy.

“Participating in safe, responsible and appropriate physical activity whilst pregnant can have many health benefits. Research shows that taking regular physical exercise during pregnancy can boost the immune system, help to prevent health risks such as Type 2 diabetes in addition to improving mental health and wellbeing.

“We encourage pregnant women to listen to their bodies and adapt their exercise accordingly. As a general rule, if it feels pleasant, keep going; if it is uncomfortable, then stop and seek advice from your health professional.”

Earlier this week, professional tennis player Mandy Minella revealed she is four-and-a-half months pregnant after losing in the first round of Wimbledon.

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Expectant mothers should undertake 150 minutes of moderate physical activity spread throughout the week, according to guidance released by UK Chief Medical Officers.
HAF
Recommendations aim to reduce issues such as obesity, diabetes and other health concerns during pregnancy
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