New pregnancy physical activity guidelines recommended

A set of physical activity for pregnancy guidelines, developed by The University of Queensland and CQUniversity, was released by the Australian Government Department of Health on Mother’s Day.

Lead author Professor Wendy Brown from UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences said the guidelines recommended that women who were active before pregnancy should continue with physical activity while carrying their baby.

“If you were inactive before pregnancy, start slowly and build up your activity to meet the recommendations,” Professor Brown said.

“As your body changes during pregnancy, you may need to adapt your activities, listen to your body and chat with your health professional for more help.”

Co-author Dr Melanie Hayman from CQUniversity said the guidelines provide best practice recommendations for how Australians should be physically active during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

“These guidelines are applicable to all Australians who are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant, as well as health professionals who provide care during pregnancy,” Dr Hayman said.

“The guidelines provide health professionals with evidence-based guidance on optimal physical activity during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

“They may be used to encourage pregnant people to achieve levels of physical activity recommended for optimal health for them and their baby.”

In addition to the national health guidelines, Dr Hayman said the first Australian physical activity/exercise screening tool was released.

The screening tool is a user-friendly, evidence-based resource that can be used to help guide and support health professionals in physical activity and provide exercise advice for pregnant women.

It was developed as a resource to help health professionals guide physical activity and exercise behaviours among pregnant women.

The screening tool was reviewed by peak industry bodies including Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Exercise is Medicine, Fitness Australia and Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) and has now been endorsed by all peak industry bodies involved.

See the full guidelines here.

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