Guidelines for exercise & physical activity during pregnancy in Singapore
Still wondering if you should engage in exercise or any form of physical activity during pregnancy? Rest assured – a moderate amount of exercise is not only safe but also necessary for a health pregnancy. Moreover, leading an active lifestyle can contribute to preventing the growing problem of gestational diabetes and its undesirable effects on both mother and baby.
According to the first set of guidelines introduced in Singapore on physical activity and exercise in pregnancy early last year, “healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and take certain precautions while exercising”.
These guidelines aim to standardize advice on exercise and physical activity for pregnant women to improve their health outcomes and that of their child.
They have been developed by a Committee of Exercise in Pregnancy which comprises key members from the Integrated Platform for Research in Advancing Metabolic Health Outcomes in Women and Children (IPRAMHO), led by KKH, in partnership with the SingHealth Polyclinics and National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, as well as the Obstetrical & Gynaecological Society of Singapore (OGSS), Perinatal Society of Singapore (PSS) and Exercise is Medicine Singapore (EIMS).
Here are some of the key points from the guidelines that we have excerpted for you:
Healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies should aim to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Include a combination of aerobic activities (eg. brisk walking, swimming, stationary cycling, low-impact aerobics, jogging, modified yoga and modified Pilates) and resistance-training activities (e.g. body weight exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups; exercises with light dumbbells/weights; and resistance band exercises).
Progression of physical activity is best done in the second trimester of pregnancy. Do this by increasing the frequency of activity during a week or increasing the duration of each session or the intensity of each session.
Avoid certain activities such as contact sports or those with a high-risk of fall such as gymnastics, non-stationary cycling, etc.
Pregnant women with certain medical conditions should not exercise and should consult their health care provider early.
Take precautions while exercising to minimise injury.
Take into account safety considerations with regard to exercise
Heed warning signs and stop exercising and seek immediate medical attention. Some of these warning signs include:
Shortness of breath before exertion or persistent and excessive shortness of breath not resolved at rest
Regular, painful contractions
Leaking amniotic fluid or rupture of membranes
Muscle weakness affecting balance
Calf pain or swelling
Dizziness, syncope or faintness that does not resolve with rest
Please check out the entire list of guidelines here and discuss with your doctor for specific do’s and don’ts. The key thing to remember is to lead an active and healthy lifestyle always.
Stay active, stay fit and stay safe!
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