In a recent Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica study, a combined lifestyle intervention including dietary counseling and twice-weekly exercise classes during pregnancy resulted in a slightly longer first stage of labor, without any other effects during labor or delivery. Women reporting to have high physical activity level (>35 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity/day) in late pregnancy had a reduced risk of having an acute cesarean section compared with those with the lowest physical activity level.
The Norwegian Fit for Delivery study included 303 pregnant women who participated in dietary counseling and twice-weekly exercise classes and 303 who received standard care.
"The association between physical activity level and mode of delivery might help motivate more women to engage in regular physical activity before and during pregnancy, which in turn will give additional health benefits for the women and their babies," said lead author Dr. Birgitte Sanda, of the University of Agder, in Norway.
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Birgitte Sanda et al, What is the effect of physical activity on duration and mode of delivery? Secondary analysis from the Norwegian Fit for Delivery trial, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (2018). DOI: 10.1111/aogs.13351