In the fall of 2019 the Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy was jointly published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) and the Journal of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Canada. This guideline was informed by an extensive systematic review and input from pregnant women, exercise professionals and obstetric health care providers and consists of six key recommendations for prenatal exercise (Mottola et al, 2019).
The literature clearly demonstrates that regular moderate-intensity physical activity (150 minutes over 3 or more days per week) is beneficial and women who exercise during pregnancy reduce their risk of developing gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclampsia (Davenport et al., 2018).
Pregnancy provides an opportunity for health care professionals, specifically physiotherapists, to educate women on the importance of adopting healthy lifestyle interventions, which includes exercise. All women, who do not present with contraindications to exercise, should be encouraged to be physical activity throughout their entire pregnancy.
After the publication of the Canadian guideline, a working group of women’s health care providers and exercise professionals set out to create a pre-screening tool for pregnant women called the Get Active Questionnaire for Pregnancy. The goal of this tool is to identify women who should speak to their health care providers about physical activity during pregnancy. For women who are recommended to consult with their health care provider, a Health Care Provider Consultation Form for Prenatal Physical Activity has been created to help facilitate the discussion between the patient and their health care provider.
A draft version of this tool is ready, and the working group is seeking feedback from pregnant or postpartum women and health care professionals (physiotherapists) that have an interest in exercise during pregnancy. If you are a physiotherapist who works with women during pregnancy, please consider reviewing the tool and providing your feedback in the survey.
- Davenport MH, Ruchat S-M, Poitras VJ, et al. Prenatal exercise for the prevention of gestational diabetes mellitus and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med 2018;52:1367–75.
- Mottola MF, Davenport MH, Ruchat SM, Davies GA, Poitras VJ, Gray CE, Garcia AJ, Barrowman N, Adamo KB, Duggan M, Barakat R. 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2018 Nov 1;52(21):1339-46.