Katharina Quack Lötscher is a doctor who co-founded the PEBS (advice on preventive nutritional and exercise during pregnancy up to a year after birth) project with qualified nutritionist Sibylle Abt. One of the cornerstones of this project is the platform www.buggyfit.ch, which helps mums-to-be keep fit and healthy.
What prompted you to launch the PEBS project?
In our practice we saw an increasing number of women putting on too much weight during pregnancy. In a study we were able to show that 40% of pregnant women – including women of normal weight – gained more weight than necessary during pregnancy. Our project provides information and highlights ways of avoiding unnecessary weight gain.
How important is exercise during and after pregnancy?
Sport and exercise are highly recommended for pregnant women. They increase blood circulation and have a positive impact on blood lipids and blood sugar levels. However, women with a high-risk pregnancy must be careful and discuss the options with their doctor.
Which sports are best?
Any type of walking, from Nordic walking to a brisk stroll, is ideal. Water sports are also very good as the water provides support and reduces the strain on joints. Cycling is also suitable if you already enjoy being out on your bike. And if you’re a fitness fan you’ll find programmes specially for pregnant women at many fitness centres.
What sports aren’t suitable?
We actually only advise against extreme sports and contact sports where you could get hit or pushed in the stomach.
How long can pregnant women continue to do competitive sport?
As long as you’re not suffering from nausea you can continue to do competitive sport for the first three months. After that we advise taking a break. Once again, it also depends on the type of sport.
What about saunas and spas?
Hygiene can be a problem in spas or wellness centres as women are more vulnerable to germs during pregnancy. The high temperatures in saunas can the raise core body temperature, which can be dangerous for expectant mothers and, especially, their growing babies. However, periods of relaxation are particularly important during pregnancy and should be observed regularly.