1. In this scoping review, public health guidelines from most countries recommended moderate intensity aerobic activity and muscle strengthening exercises during uncomplicated pregnancies.
2. However, guidance was limited with respect to specific subgroups such as highly active women, specific trimesters, and different cultures.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
Health professionals routinely recommend physical activity (PA) during pregnancy for its beneficial health effects, not only for the mother, but also for the neonate. Within the past decade, the body of research on this topic has expanded and it is unclear if there is a consensus regarding the public health recommendations from various countries. As a result, the objective of the present scoping review was to evaluate the current public health guidance surrounding PA during pregnancy in various countries
Of 22,232 identified articles, national guidelines from 30 countries published from 2010-2021 were included in the review. In addition to database searches, sources from the grey literature as well as international experts were included in the present study. Studies were included if they were published in 2010 or later and endorsed by government departments. Studies were excluded if they focused on specific medical conditions or did not include specific exercise recommendations. The review was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. The primary objective was comparing and synthesizing public health guidelines regarding PA in pregnancy from various countries.
The results demonstrated that most guidelines recommended some amount of moderate intensity aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening exercises in uncomplicated pregnancies. However, guidance was lacking with respect to trimester-specific advice, how to measure PA intensity, and how to address specific cultural beliefs (e.g., that pregnancy should focus on rest and recuperation). Despite these findings, the study was limited in its comprehensiveness by government censoring in certain countries, which may have resulted in some public health guidelines being omitted. Nonetheless, this review demonstrated high concordance regarding public health guidelines surrounding PA in uncomplicated pregnancy in various countries around the world.
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