The practice of physical activity is important at all stages of life. During pregnancy it is no different. Pregnancy is a time when behaviors and lifestyle can influence women’s health, as well as the baby’s well-being. Physical activity has been proposed as a preventive and therapeutic measure to reduce pregnancy complications and improve maternal and child health.
It is essential that the woman is accompanied by a gynecologist and obstetrician. To start the practice of activities, the pregnant woman should consult the health professional and, if possible, also a physical education professional to prescribe the intensity and frequency.
According to the Physical Activity Guide for the Brazilian Population, if there are no contraindications, pregnant women should avoid sedentary behavior and follow the following recommendations:
- Practice at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly (this practice increases breathing and heart rate moderately);
- Or practice at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly (this practice speeds up breathing and raises the heart rate).
Moderate and vigorous activities can also be combined throughout the week. In addition, it is recommended that every hour of sedentary behavior, the pregnant woman gets up and walks, stretches her legs and stretches her body for at least 5 minutes.
Actions that can cause collision with other people or objects should be avoided, as well as physical contact sports, activities with pressure on the abdominal region and deep diving.
The guide highlights the positive effects of physical activity during pregnancy, such as lowering the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure. The document also emphasizes that pregnant women who do pelvic floor muscle exercises during and after pregnancy, with the help of health professionals, have a lower risk of developing urinary incontinence.
The publication makes the following recommendations:
- Women who were already physically active before pregnancy can maintain a physical activity routine. Women who were not active before pregnancy can start the practice of activity gradually, with lighter and shorter exercises, at any time during pregnancy;
- Multidisciplinary work is essential for a successful pregnancy. Health professionals who provide care must be familiar with the contraindications, signs and symptoms that suggest that the physical activity routine is modified or interrupted;
- Support from family and friends is essential for women to be able to practice activities during pregnancy and the postpartum period;
- Pelvic floor exercises are recommended and can be started soon after delivery.
Physical activities are encouraged during pregnancy, but there are cases where they are contraindicated:
- Severe respiratory diseases (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, restrictive lung disease and cystic fibrosis);
- Severe heart disease with exercise intolerance (congenital or acquired);
- Severe or uncontrolled arrhythmia;
- placental abruption;
- Previous vase;
- Intrauterine growth restriction;
- Active preterm labor;
- severe preeclampsia;
- Cervical insufficiency.
All indications or contraindications must be evaluated, known and recommended by the gynecologist and obstetrician.
Ministry of Health
Official content – Fact Check – Verified