Objective: In this study, the authors assessed the effects of a structured, moderate-intensity exercise program during the entire length of pregnancy on a woman's method of delivery.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 290 healthy pregnant Caucasian (Spanish) women with a singleton gestation who were randomly assigned to either an exercise (n = 138) or a control (n = 152) group. Pregnancy outcomes, including the type of delivery, were measured at the end of the pregnancy.
Results: The percentage of cesarean and instrumental deliveries in the exercise group were lower than in the control group (15.9%, n = 22; 11.6%, n = 16 vs. 23%, n = 35; 19.1%, n = 29, respectively; p = 0.03). The overall health status of the newborn as well as other pregnancy outcomes was unaffected.
Conclusions: Based on these results, a supervised program of moderate-intensity exercise performed throughout pregnancy was associated with a reduction in the rate of cesarean, instrumental deliveries and can be recommended for healthy women in pregnancy.