Pregnancy and exercise necessitate adjustments of body systems and functions. Adjustment of the musculoskeletal system in pregnancy leads to changes in the posture of the pregnant woman's body that can result in pain (e.g. pelvic girdle pain, lumbar pain). Exercise during pregnancy plays an important role in improving and maintaining physical and mental health. For pregnant women, the benefits of exercise include increased cardiorespiratory fitness; reduced risk of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, edema, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, weight gain, or premature birth; and reduced length of labor. For the fetus, the benefits of such exercise include increased amniotic fluid and placental volume, vascular function, faster placental growth, and improved neurological development. Psychological benefits of exercise include a reduction of fatigue, insomnia and stress and the improvement of the overall general health of pregnant women. Despite such benefits, the incidence of pregnant women exercising regularly during pregnancy is low, only 15.8%. A team approach is essential in encouraging pregnant women to exercise regularly as well as for the detection and management of painful conditions during pregnancy. The goal of this Special Issue is to update knowledge and future directions about exercise during pregnancy and the influence of exercise in prevention and treatment of painful conditions during pregnancy.
Assis. Prof. Manuela Filipec and Prof. Ratko Matijević
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Why we should recommend exercise in pregnancy?