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About the Speaker


Dr Tan Lay Kok

Senior Consultant
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Singapore General Hospital

Dr Tan Lay Kok is a Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Singapore General Hospital. He has a special interest in high risk pregnancy and maternal medicine, and oversees the running of four joint multidisciplinary obstetric clinics with cardiology, haematology, rheumatology and endocrinology. He also has responsibilities in medical education, and besides being an adjunct associate professor for the YLLSOM and the Duke NUS School of Medicine, he is also Vice Chair for Education for the SingHealth OBGYN Academic Clinical Programme, as well as the Programme Director for PGY1 doctors in the Singapore General Hospital.

Presentation Abstract

Exercise in Pregnancy

Exercise and physical activity in pregnancy are often misunderstood by both the public and health care personnel  as being potentially detrimental to maternal and perinatal outcomes. There is substantial evidence that physical activity is not harmful to the pregnancy or the offspring, nor does it  have  any negative effect on the mode of delivery, and indeed carries benefits, including a reduction in gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, as well as lowering the odds of a caesarean delivery. An understanding of the physiology of exercise in pregnancy is important.  Women with gestational diabetes may also benefit from physical activity which, when coupled with medical nutritional therapy, can improve euglycaemia, and lower rates of large for gestational age babies  and macrosomia. Exercise in mothers of advanced maternal age, also resulted in less pelvic girdle pain, lower gestational weight gain and lower macrosomia rates. The preventive benefits of prenatal exercise, and the issue of exercise in the first trimester will be discussed. There is therefore a case for exercise to be viewed as a prescriptive intervention, and as such requires consideration to be given to the quantity (frequency, intensity, duration) and type of exercise, as well as relative and absolute obstetric contraindications to exercise. Results of a local survey of beliefs, attitudes and practices  conducted on pregnant women and obstetricians with regards to exercise in pregnancy will be presented.