Exercising during pregnancy can reduce time spent in labour, study finds

There are many proven benefits to exercising during pregnancy

Sabrina Barr
Friday 16 March 2018 18:06 GMT

Maintaining an active lifestyle during pregnancy can reduce the amount of time spent in labour during childbirth, a study has concluded.

There are many proven benefits to exercising while pregnant, such as easing back pain, elevating your energy levels and aiding with post-delivery recovery, as covered by What To Expect.

However, new research conducted by the Technical University of Madrid has discovered that it can also impact how long expectant mothers spend in labour.

The team of researchers, led by Professor Ruben Barakat, carried out a study with 508 healthy women by randomly assigning them into two groups.

253 women were put in the control group, while 255 women were placed in the exercise group.

Those in the exercise group were given a moderate aerobic exercise programme throughout their pregnancies, which they followed during three weekly sessions.

The researchers then analysed a number of factors while each woman gave birth, including the duration of each stage of labour, the mode of delivery, maternal weight gain, use of an epidural and the weight of the baby.

They came to the conclusion that the expectant mothers who had partaken in aerobic workouts during their pregnancies were more likely to spend less time in labour than the women who hadn’t.

“A supervised physical exercise programme throughout pregnancy decreased the duration of the first phase of labour as well as total time of the first two phases together, leading to a decrease in total labour time,” they wrote.

The women in the exercise group were also less likely to use an epidural during childbirth.

Furthermore, neonate macrosomia, which is when a newborn is significantly larger than average, was more prevalent among the mothers in the control group.

While exercising during pregnancy may help mothers restore their fitness after giving birth, getting back into shape after carrying a baby for nine months is far easier said than done.

Actor Blake Lively recently revealed the struggles that she faced after giving birth.

“Turns out you can’t lose the 61lbs you gained during pregnancy by just scrolling through Instagram and wondering why you don’t look like all the bikini models,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

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