Pregnant women who undergo regular and supervised exercise may reduce their risk of having a Caesarean section, a new study indicates.
The Caesarean section rate in Ireland has been increasing for a number of years. In 2005, some 19% of all births were via Caesarean. By 2011, this had increased to 27%.
While some women elect to have a Caesarean, some end up undergoing emergency sections because of complications with them or their baby. According to Spanish scientists, an unhealthy lifestyle, such as being sedentary, consuming a poor diet and maintaining poor posture, can increase this risk. Therefore a healthier lifestyle may reduce the risk.
They decided to test this theory by studying an exercise programme which had been specifically adapted to the different stages of pregnancy. It involved three sessions per week, each lasting 50-55 minutes. The sessions included exercises which toned muscles and strengthened the pelvic floor.
Pregnant women began the programme around 10 or 12 weeks into their pregnancy and remained until week 38 or 39.
The scientists found that those who did regular and supervised exercise during their pregnancy had a lower rate of Caesarean births and deliveries requiring instruments, such as forceps, compared to those who were inactive during their pregnancy.
The team from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid said that they hope the results encourage women to be active during pregnancy.
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