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Systematic review with meta-analysis
Review: structured physical activity during pregnancy reduces risk of caesarean delivery
  1. James M Pivarnik,
  2. Michelle R Conway
  1. Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr James M Pivarnik, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, 308 West Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA; jimpiv{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • Risk of caesarean section (C-section) appears to decrease if pregnant women perform regular exercise.

  • Clinic nurses should tell their patients to remain physically active if they were before pregnancy and encourage those who were not active to begin some sort of activity programme, such as walking.

  • When compiling statistics on patients’ progress through gestation, nurses should note whether the women exercised or performed other physical activities and the amount performed.


Prevalence of C-section deliveries in the USA is approximately 32%.1 This procedure can add to pregnancy complications as well as increase delivery costs. Any intervention with potential to decrease C-section rates are welcomed, particularly if it is low risk …

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  • Competing interests None.