Pregnant women should get a half-hour of moderate exercise on most days, but few do, according to the results of a recently-released study.
The study, by researchers at the University of North Carolina, found only 23 percent of pregnant women were active enough to meet the physical activity guidelines of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Walking was the most common form of physical activity for the pregnant women surveyed, and the women were (no surprise) more likely to be active in their first trimesters than later in their pregnancies.
The author of the study said exercise helps prevent gestational diabetes, support healthy gestational weight gain and improve mental health.
Although fewer than a quarter of the women reported getting 30 minutes of exercise on most days, more than half said they did some moderate to vigorous household or leisure time activity.
The study’s authors said the data could help healthcare providers understand which women are getting adequate exercise during pregnancy and what type of activity they choose.
The results of the study were published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Preventive Medicine.