The benefits of physical activity during pregnancy include: reduction in hypertensive disorders, improved cardiorespiratory fitness, lower gestational weight gain and reduction in risk of gestational diabetes.
The benefits of physical activity in the postpartum period (up to one year) are; reduction in depression, improved emotional wellbeing, improved physical conditioning and reduction in postpartum weight gain and a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight.
Physical activity can safely be recommended to women during, and after pregnancy and should not have a negative impact on breastfeeding postpartum.
Physical activity choices should reflect activity levels pre-pregnancy and should include strength training. Vigorous activity is not recommended for previously inactive women.
After the 6 to 8 week postnatal check, and depending on how the woman feels, more intense activities can gradually resume, i.e. building up intensity from moderate to vigorous over a minimum period of at least 3 months.