Exercise during pregnancy could actually reduce the risk of complications, according to revised guidelines from Michigan State University.
|Exercise during pregnancy could actually reduce the risk of complications, according to revised guidelines from Michigan State University.
Embarking on physical activity while pregnant had at one time been discouraged, because of the harm it was believed may be caused to the foetus.
However, the new Physical Activity Guidelines formulated partly by professor James Pivarnik for the department of health and human services, indicates that women should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
Professor Pivarnik said: "We have shifted from cautious conservatism to the current guidelines, which encourage women to be active throughout gestation.
"While it used to be thought that avoiding exercise meant avoiding harm to the fetus, research now shows physical activity can not only improve health of the mother but also provide potential long-term benefits for the child."
The study, which is published in the Medical and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, also urges that pregnant women avoid doing activities lying on their back during the first trimester.
Meanwhile, according to University of London research published in the BMC Public Health journal, exercise during pregnancy can also help women give up smoking.
However, around one fifth of women in both the UK (17 per cent) and the US (20 per cent) still admit to smoking during pregnancy.