UK Chief Medical Officers issue advice for health professionals on physical exercise during pregnancy
The UK’s Chief Medical officers (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have jointly released new advice on physical activity for expectant mothers— believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
The new recommendations aim to reduce issues such as obesity, diabetes and other health concerns during pregnancy. The latest evidence suggests pregnant women should carry out around 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity’ activity every week.
This is described as ‘activity that makes you breathe faster’ while still being able to hold a conversation.
This new advice is being issued in the form of an infographic, aimed at providing midwives, nurses, GPs, obstetricians, gynaecologists, as well as the leisure sector, with the latest evidence on physical activity during pregnancy.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, said:
“There is strong evidence that shows that regular, moderate exercise during pregnancy can offer women significant benefits. This includes reducing high blood pressure problems, helping to control weight gain, improving sleep, reducing the risk of diabetes, and improving mood. That’s why we want to ensure pregnant women, and the health professionals who support them, are aware of the benefits of physical activity throughout pregnancy.
“Pregnant women who are not currently active, should build up their activity levels slowly, while women who already take part in regular exercise should stay active but listen to their body and adapt their exercise regime if necessary. A general rule for all pregnant women is, if it feels pleasant, keep going; if it is uncomfortable, then stop and seek advice.”
Women who have not been active before pregnancy are recommended to follow a gradual progression of exercise—beginning with 10 minute bouts of moderate intensity exercise, gradually building up to 150 minutes. The activity should be spread throughout the week, and it is important to remember that ‘every activity counts’.
The new advice was constructed by the CMO Expert Committee for Physical Activity and Pregnancy, which included midwives, obstetricians, exercise physiologist, GPs, Public Health Consultants, Sports Medicine, exercise professionals, nursing and research scientists. The project was led by Professor Marian Knight and Dr Charlie Foster from the University of Oxford. The aim was to produce evidence-based messaging for health professionals to use with the public. The infographic was developed and tested with panels of health professionals and pregnant women before consultation with more than 250 UK based doctors and midwives.
Health professionals are encouraged to use this infographic to discuss the benefits of physical activity with all pregnant women, to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, with approximately 1 in 20 women being recorded as obese during pregnancy.
The key points are:
Latest News from
New ferret owners’ register to help prevent COVID-1918/06/2021 16:05:00
Owners of ferrets and Mustelinae in Wales are being encouraged to sign up to a new voluntary register to help contain any possible outbreak of the virus which causes COVID-19 and to provide advice to owners on how to keep themselves and their animals safe.
Health Minister urges people to get vaccinated as Delta variant cases rise18/06/2021 14:05:00
As Wales sees an increase in cases of the Delta variant, people are being urged to take up their offer of a vaccine.
Rule changes on hold for 4 weeks as delta spreads18/06/2021 11:05:00
First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce a 4-week pause to the coronavirus rules today (June 18) to help boost protection against the new delta variant.
£3 million north Wales town centres fund to open for applications18/06/2021 09:05:00
A £3 million fund piloted by Welsh Government in four north Wales town centres to encourage entrepreneurs to set up there is now open for expressions of interest and will open for applications next week.
‘We must protect our children’s health from air pollution’, says Deputy Minister for Climate Change17/06/2021 14:05:00
Tackling air pollution is one of the most complex challenges we face, with no simple solution says new Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, as Wales’ marks Clean Air Day.
Written Statement: Intergovernmental COVID-19 Recovery Meeting17/06/2021 11:05:00
Written Statement: Intergovernmental COVID-19 Recovery Meeting, 15th June 2021.
Help for learners to take their next steps as Wales moves forward16/06/2021 14:10:00
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, published the Welsh Government’s Renew and Reform plan for education today (Wednesday June 16).
Calls for 4 nation finance meeting with the Chancellor16/06/2021 13:10:00
The Finance Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for an urgent meeting with him to discuss a range of issues, including financial recovery from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“UK Government plans to replace EU funds fails Wales financially and is a deliberate and unacceptable assault on Welsh devolution” – Vaughan Gething16/06/2021 12:10:00
The UK Government’s decision to bypass Welsh Government and directly allocate funding for regional and local development via UK-wide funds is a clear assault on Welsh devolution and fails to meet repeated EU referendum promises that Wales “will not be a penny worse off” outside the EU, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said yesterday.