A little gentle but regular exercise during pregnancy could help to prevent the need for an emergency caesarean, scientists have found.
In a study by the Granada University in Spain, researchers discovered that a brisk walk just three times a week halves the risk of having a heavy baby - one of the main causes of emergency C-sections.
Researchers took 510 sedentary pregnant women, with one group embarking on an exercise regime of three 55-minute sessions each week - including aerobic, muscle strength and flexibility exercises - during the last six months of their pregnancy. The remaining participants received standard care.
According to the scientists' findings, those who took on the training programme reduced their chances of having a baby of 9lb or more by a massive 58 per cent, and the number of expected caesarean deliveries dropped by 34 per cent.
Previous studies have shown that babies born by caesarean could be missing out on vital bacteria that boost their immune system, helping them to fight off disorders such as infections and asthma.
Furthermore, a safe exercise regime during pregnancy was also found to reduce the chances of mum-to-be developing gestational diabetes mellitus.
Lead researcher Dr Jonatan Ruiz - whose study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine - said: "The findings reinforce the need to encourage more supervised exercise interventions during pregnancy to combat the negative effects of gestational diabetes mellitus."
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