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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2014 Jul;69(7):407-14. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0000000000000077.

Summary of international guidelines for physical activity after pregnancy.

Author information

1
Research Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
2
Professor, R. Samuel McLaughlin Foundation-Exercise & Pregnancy Laboratory, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine, Children's Health Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.
3
Scientist, Norwegian Resource Centre for Women's Health, Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet and Department of Psychosomatics and Health Behaviour, National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.
4
Lecturer, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
5
Professor, School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

Postpartum physical activity can improve mood, maintain cardiorespiratory fitness, improve weight control, promote weight loss, and reduce depression and anxiety. This review summarizes current guidelines for postpartum physical activity worldwide. PubMed (MEDLINE) was searched for country-specific government and clinical guidelines on physical activity after pregnancy through the year 2013. Only the most recent guideline was included in the review. An abstraction form facilitated extraction of key details and helped to summarize results. Six guidelines were identified from 5 countries (Australia, Canada, Norway, United Kingdom, and United States). All guidelines were embedded within pregnancy-related physical activity recommendations. All provided physical activity advice related to breastfeeding and 3 remarked about physical activity after cesarean delivery. Recommended physical activities mentioned in the guidelines included aerobic (3/6), pelvic floor exercise (3/6), strengthening (2/6), stretching (2/6), and walking (2/6). None of the guidelines discussed sedentary behavior. The guidelines that were identified lacked specificity for physical activity. Greater clarity in guidelines would be more useful to both practitioners and the women they serve. Postpartum physical activity guidelines have the potential to assist women to initiate or resume physical activity after childbirth so that they can transition to meeting recommended levels of physical activity. Health care providers have a critical role in encouraging women to be active at this time, and the availability of more explicit guidelines may assist them to routinely include physical activity advice in their postpartum care.

PMID:
25112589
PMCID:
PMC4134098
DOI:
10.1097/OGX.0000000000000077
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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