PERCEIVED BENEFITS OF EXERCISE AMONG PREGNANT MOTHERS IN IKWO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA EBONYI STATE. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON PHARMACY
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In recent years, there has been a great increase of knowledge derived from scientific studies regarding physical exercise during pregnancy (Mason et al, 2010). This reflects the need to clarify their effects for mother and fetus, as some women of childbearing age report exercising and may continue their exercise practice during pregnancy, whereas other sedentary women may start this practice only during pregnancy.
As the effects of healthy lifestyle are well known and supported by studies that show it is safe for both mother and fetus, physical exercise is recommended activity for pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all healthy pregnant women follow the American College of Sports Medicine-Centers for Disease Control and Preventions general guidelines for physical exercise by engaging in 30 min or more of moderate physical activity per day in the majority or preferably all days of the week. Women who were active before pregnancy may continue their activities, but change intensity and frequency over the course of pregnancy. Other guidelines for physical exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period have been published, such as the Canadian guidelines for exercise during pregnancy in 2003, and the recommendations of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2006. Some researchers argue for the necessity of incorporating strength training and muscle conditioning, revising the definition of moderate exercise, and increasing the amount of vigorous intensity exercises and weekly physical activity expenditure.
Aerobic exercise is recommended to maintain cardiovascular fitness and to help prevent chronic diseases, apart from avoiding excessive weight gain (Valim et al, 2011). They should involve large muscle groups in activities such as when walking or jogging, using stationary bicycle, treadmill, swimming, water aerobics exercises, aerobic dance, or low-impact aerobics.