A recent study at the University of Portsmouth has examined the barriers and motivators to pregnancy fitness.

Why do so many pregnant women give up exercise?

Previous research has shown that while nearly half pregnant women take some form of exercise, very few do enough to meet health guidelines. Both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and NICE recommend that all healthy pregnant women should aim for 30 minutes exercise on at least five days a week to benefit themselves and their baby. However, the intensity, duration and frequency of exercise all tend to tail off or stop altogether for most women once they’re in their second trimester.

Are you continuing to stay active?

Women who exercise during pregnancy are less prone to backache, varicose veins and tiredness; they tend to sleep better and suffer less from anxiety; they are better prepared for labour (which is probably the most physically demanding process any women will undertake) and are less likely to have a C-section. They are also more likely to maintain a healthy weight gain and recover more quickly after the birth.

But despite so much evidence in favour of staying active, many women give up their usual fitness regime, opting instead to ‘take it easy’. And women who were inactive before becoming pregnant don’t think that pregnancy is a good time to take up exercise.

A recent study at the University of Portsmouth examined the barriers and motivators to pregnancy fitness

The women taking part in the research were all either pregnant or less than a year postpartum. Their answers revealed some startling results around how real women exercise during pregnancy and just how many of them hung up their trainers.

  • 58% of the women went to the gym pre-pregnancy but 31% of them gave up when they were pregnant
  • 55% of the participants were regular runners pre-pregnancy but a significant 35% of these women stopped running during pregnancy
  • 35% of women attended exercise classes such as spin, or body pump but this dropped to only 22% during pregnancy

The biggest reason for giving up exercise, cited by just over half of the respondents, was ‘lack of energy’.  But many of the women involved agreed that appropriate fitnesswear is a key issue. They simply didn’t feel comfortable exercising in clothes that didn’t fit, didn’t provide support and didn’t meet their needs as their body changed.

Does this sound like you?

  • 63% of the women who responded (including those who carried on exercising) said their bump felt unsupported
  • 37% of women gave up exercise because their bump got in the way
  • 31% were put off exercise because of ill-fitting fitnesswear and 47% stated that their fitnesswear didn’t meet their needs as their body changed.

A key aspect of the research was a fully independent and scientific analysis of the bio-mechanical benefits of specialist supportive maternity fitnesswear compared to ’standard’ maternity leggings and vests.  The tests and analysis of FittaMamma fitnesswear revealed a 48% REDUCTION in bump bounce in all directions compared to ‘standard’ fitnesswear.

Holding the bump securely and avoiding discomfort during exercise removes one of the biggest barriers to staying active during pregnancy. Ensuring the baby bump is supported for exercise is every bit as important as wearing a bra to support your breasts. 

“We’re passionate about encouraging women to enjoy the benefits of exercise during pregnancy,” said Alexandra McCabe, co-founder of FittaMamma.

“The benefits of staying active are compelling and it’s a dreadful shame so many women stop exercising once they become pregnant.  Our aim is to remove the barriers to pregnancy fitness so women can continue to exercise with confidence and support.’

“This research shows our clothing helps support pregnant women, enabling them to continue to exercise right throughout their pregnancies – which is such a fantastic health benefit for both mother and baby.”

Don’t miss out on the health benefits of staying active whilst you’re pregnant!

We’ve arranged a discount of 10% on the FittaMamma range to help more women enjoy the benefits of an active pregnancy. Use CODE KICKS10 when you shop.