The MotHERS™ podcast is an extension of the MotHERS Program™ and aims to provide a reliable source of education about pregnancy on the internet in an effort to improve mother's health through education, research, and screening. The podcast is hosted by Dr. Graeme Smith, head of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Kingston Health Sciences Centre in Kingston, Ontario and features various guest speakers discussing a number of different topics related to pregnancy and maternal health.
Dr. Nicole Beamish, Physiotherapist and Clinician-Scientist at Queen's University with an interest in women's health, joins us for our third episode to discuss pain and the role that physiotherapy can play in pregnancy and the postpartum period.
Looking for some more information on exercise and pregnancy? Follow these Canadian physiotherapists on Instagram!
- Kelsey Valentin PT: kelseycalentinept
- Anita Lambert: holistichealthphysio
- Rhonda Chamberlain PT: rhondachamberlainpt
- Lacey Forsyth: bumppelvichealth
- Marla Maislin PT: bloomphysio
Want to try yoga? Check out the free version of the down dog yoga app here: www.downdogapp.com
Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health
The Program for Pregnancy and Postpartum Health (PPPH) is a multi-site research program developed in 2013, with the mission of conducting research to improve the life-long health of pregnant and postpartum women and their children.
The 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy
- Exercise reduces the risk of common pregnancy complications.
- Previously inactive women can safely start exercise with the goal of achieving the recommended minimum activity. Exercise can be initiated at any point during pregnancy.
- All types of physical activity contribute to a woman's fitness during pregnancy. Activities as simple as walking can reduce pregnancy complications. Aerobic exercise plus other types of exercise (e.g., resistance training) contribute to fitness.
- Women can achieve the recommended physical activity in this guideline in many ways, including activities, such as walking, that have no added expense.
- When exercising women should be cautious of activities where falling or direct physical contact may result in harm to themselves of their fetus.
The specific recommendations in this 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy are provided below with corresponding statements indicating the quality of the evidence informing the recommendations and the strength of the recommendations.
- All women without contraindication should be physically active throughout pregnancy (strong recommendation, moderate quality evidence).
- Pregnant women should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to achieve clinically meaningful health benefits and reductions in pregnancy complications (strong recommendation, moderate quality evidence).
- Physical activity should be accumulated over a minimum of 3 days per week; however, being active every day is encouraged (strong recommendation, moderate quality evidence).
- Pregnant women should incorporate a variety of aerobic exercise and resistance training activities to achieve greater benefits. Adding yoga and/or gentle stretching may also be beneficial (strong recommendation, high quality evidence).
- Pelvic floor muscle training (e.g., Kegel exercises) may be performed on a daily basis to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Instruction in proper technique is recommended to obtain optimal benefits (weak recommendation, low quality evidence).
- Pregnant women who experience light-headedness, experience nausea, or feel unwell when they exercise flat on their back should modify their exercise position to avoid the supine position (weak recommendation, very low quality evidence)
COVID-19 Vaccine in Pregnancy
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) has released the following statement:
The SOGC acknowledges the need for guidance related to the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy and during lactation. We recognize the difficulty facing women and their health care providers at this time, due to the absence of clinical trials that can support evidence-informed recommendations about the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant and breastfeeding populations. Information related to COVID-19, the impact of the disease on pregnancy and data related to COVID-19 vaccines in development are rapidly evolving. The information contained herein is subject to change as further evidence becomes available and currently applies to all proposed COVID-19 vaccines.
For individuals who are at high risk of infection and/or morbidity from COVID19, it is the SOGC’s position that the documented risk of not getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweighs the theorized and undescribed risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding and vaccination should be offered.
The full statement may be accessed here: SOGC Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination in Pregnancy
COVID-19 in Pregnancy
The COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving, as such, the SOGC is continually reviewing emerging evidence. On December 1st, 2020 they released an updated committee opinion, which outlines the existing evidence.
The full document may be accessed here: Committee Opinion No. 400: COVID-19 and Pregnancy
Canadian Surveillance of COVID-19 in Pregnancy: Epidemiology, Maternal and Infant Outcomes
Globally, there are limited data on COVID-19 in pregnancy to inform recommendations for pregnant women and their care providers. This national surveillance project serves to better our understanding of the epidemiology and outcomes associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy and to thereby provide critical data to inform recommendations for pregnant women and their infants.