Physical activity during pregnancy is helpful in having a normal delivery, finds study

Physical activity during pregnant could help in having a normal delivery. However the first stage of labour could be slightly more prolonged.

A recent study found that a combined lifestyle intervention including dietary counseling and twice-weekly exercise classes during pregnancy resulted in a slightly longer first stage of labor, without any other effects during labor or delivery.

The study concluded: “A significantly longer first stage of labor was observed in the intervention group than in the control group. A high physical activity level in late pregnancy was associated with lower odds of acute cesarean delivery compared with a low physical activity level.”

Women reporting to have high physical activity level (>35 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity/day) in late pregnancy had a reduced risk of having an acute cesarean section compared with those with the lowest physical activity level.

The Norwegian Fit for Delivery study included 303 pregnant women who participated in dietary counseling and twice-weekly exercise classes and 303 who received standard care.

…there are conflicting results concerning the possible effect of physical activity on the course of labor and risk of cesarean delivery

In India rates of cesarean sections vary widely from state to state and also from the government to the private sector. According to the National Family Health Survey 4, figures range from 87.1 per cent of the deliveries in urban Tripura (against 36.4 per cent in government sector) to 25.3 per cent in urban Haryana (the figure in government sector is 10.7 per cent).

In a statement issued on C-secs in April 2015, the WHO said: “Since 1985, the international healthcare community has considered the ideal rate for Caesarean sections to be between 10-15 per cent. Since then, Caesarean sections have become increasingly common in both developed and developing countries.”

The beneficial effects of physical activity during pregnancy for the mother and offspring have been reported by several studies but there are conflicting results concerning the possible effect of physical activity on the course of labor and risk of cesarean delivery.

“The association between physical activity level and mode of delivery might help motivate more women to engage in regular physical activity before and during pregnancy, which in turn will give additional health benefits for the women and their babies,” said lead author Dr. Birgitte Sanda, of the University of Agder, in Norway.

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