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Pregnant women warned over sedentary lifestyle

09 November 2015 09:04

Pregnant women have been warned over their exercise levels

Pregnant women have been warned over their exercise levels

Depression during pregnancy could be harmful to both mother and baby, research suggests.

Pregnant women who feel depressed are more likely to sit down, according to experts at Warwick Medical School.

And they found that sitting down for around six hours a day during the second trimester led to greater weight gain and potentially diabetes.

They claim pregnant women could benefit from early intervention to improve their physical and mental health, and reduce the risks associated with sedentary behaviour.

Risk of diabetes

The study asked a total of 1,263 women about their levels of physical activity and emotional well-being in the first trimester of pregnancy, as well as in the late stages of the second trimester.

Women who reported symptoms of depression were more likely to sit down for longer periods.

Those who spent most time sitting down in the second trimester also took less exercise and gained significant amounts of weight, putting them at risk of developing diabetes.

Gestational diabetes can increase the risk of birth complications for mother and baby, so lead author Dr Nithya Sukumar says it is important to minimise this risk by reducing the time that pregnant women spend sitting down.

The condition usually develops in the third trimester, and while it usually disappears after the baby is born, women who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future.

Moderate aerobic activity

Dr Ponnusamy Saravanan, part of the research team, believes encouraging women to take breaks from sitting down may be an easier public health policy to implement than increasing their physical activity during pregnancy.

He claims reducing sitting time has the potential to lessen pregnant women's risk of gestational diabetes and reduce the metabolic risk factors of their newborn.

A sight-seeing holiday is a great way to keep active, and with comprehensive pregnancy travel insurance , mothers-to-be can explore all four corners of the globe.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends pregnant women undertake 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.

Doing so can reduce the risks associated with weight gain during pregnancy, plus relieving symptoms of stress and improving sleep.