exercise in pregnancy hdr

Exercise in Pregnancy Can Increase the Chances of Vaginal Birth

A frequent question that we are asked by pregnant mum’s attending the clinic is whether they can continue to exercise during pregnancy. Many of the mums-to-be are worried that exercise may harm the baby or increase the risk of preterm birth. 

Doctors previously assumed that pregnancy would increase the risk of preterm birth by reducing the blood flow to the placenta which provides vital nutrients to the baby. A recent study set out to check whether exercise in pregnancy really did increase the risk of preterm birth. They carried out a meta-analysis, a study that collects together all the results of previous good quality studies and pools them together. The study only included women who had an uncomplicated, single (i.e. not twin) pregnancy. In total 2059 women were included in the study and, interestingly, all of them were sedentary prior to the studies starting. A wide variety of exercises were tested in the studies including personal training, static cycling, resistance training, swimming, mobilization, and core workouts. 

The results showed that women who exercised throughout pregnancy doing 35 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week had no difference in the rate of preterm delivery than those who did no exercise. There was also no difference in birth weight of babies born to mothers who did exercise compared to those who did not. 

However, women who exercised regularly were more likely to have a vaginal birth and less likely to have a Caesarean Section. In addition, exercise reduces the likelihood of women developing Diabetes in pregnancy or experiencing problems with high blood pressure. 

So exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy is not only safe but can also improve chances of vaginal birth and reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. If you would like to know more about what exercise would suit you in your pregnancy, then contact our team.


Dr. Hugh Coyne

Private GP Parsons Green