Benefits of staying fit and active during pregnancy

Outdoor exercise: Pregnant women are encouraged to stay fit and active during their pregnancy.
Outdoor exercise: Pregnant women are encouraged to stay fit and active during their pregnancy.

Pregnant women are encouraged to keep up a fit and active lifestyle to boost the benefits of health and well-being.

For a healthy woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy, physical activity is considered safe for both her and her unborn child.

A recent report published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Australian (Health Survey 2011-12), examined the types and amount of physical activity undertaken by women during pregnancy.

It compared activity levels for pregnant and non-pregnant women of the same ages and assessed these levels against the Australian physical activity guideline for adults.

Only three in 10 pregnant women met the physical activity guideline.

When assessed against the Australian physical activity guideline for adults, 30 per cent of pregnant women were sufficiently active, 54 per cent were insufficiently active and 16 perc cent were inactive.

In comparison, just under half (47 per cent) of women in the same age group who were not pregnant met the physical activity guideline for sufficient activity.

Two-thirds of pregnant women were active for fewer than 150 minutes per week.

The median length of time spent on physical activity in the last week by pregnant women was 90 minutes. This was much lower than the average time of 151 minutes due to skewness caused by a small proportion of very active pregnant women.

The average of 151 minutes for pregnant women was made up of just under an hour (54 minutes) of walking for fitness, 73 minutes of walking for transport and 24 minutes on moderate and vigorous activities.

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