Author(s): Anna Fuchs (ABDE), Natalia Jainta (BDEF), Aleksandra Hauzer (BDEF), Piotr Fuchs (DF), Iwona Czech (AE), Jerzy Sikora (AD), Agnieszka Drosdzol-Cop(AE), Katarzyna Zborowska (AD), Violetta Skrzypulec-Plinta (AD)
Physically active women often give up exercise once they are pregnant in fear of the child’s health. Exercise has been proven to prevent numerous diseases, which is also relevant for pregnant women. Physical exercise has a positive effect on fetal growth and birth weight. It shortens labor and reduces effort associated with it. Moreover, it decreases the stress level during labor. Women who are physically active before and during pregnancy are characterized by lower incidence of diseases and complications, such as preeclampsia, premature labor or obesity. Exercise has not been shown to affect the occurrence of miscarriages and embryogenesis. Adverse effects of exercise may result from potential trauma. Activities recommended for pregnant women include: swimming, walking, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobics, yoga, Pilates, jogging and strength training (after consultation with a physician). Contact sports, mountain sports and diving are not recommended. Absolute contraindications to physical activity include: severe cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, second and third trimester bleeding, severe anemia, cervical incompetence, placenta previa and preeclampsia. Relative contraindications include poorly controlled metabolic diseases and other chronic diseases, addictions, extremely sedentary lifestyle, etc. Physical exercise during pregnancy should be reasonable, with intensity and duration increased gradually. Proper clothing, hydration and temperature should be borne in mind. Women after natural childbirth can resume physical activities as soon as several days after childbirth to restore cardio-pulmonary efficiency. In women undergoing a cesarean section, resumption of physical activity should be consulted with a physician and depends on potential complications. There is no evidence that low- and moderate-intensity training affects the quantity and quality of breast milk. The PPAQ questionnaire is a useful tool to evaluate the amount, intensity and frequency of physical activity in pregnant women. Encouraging women to commence exercise before and during pregnancy and to continue it after childbirth is becoming a significant element of interdisciplinary care for a pregnant woman.