|Selma Blair walking dog in July 2011-Flynet|
“Dogs are a woman’s best friend too!” according to the Daily Mail, which said that research has ‘proved’ that expectant mothers with a pet pooch are more physically active than those without one.
The research examined data on over 11,000 pregnant women to look at links between pet ownership and the type of physical activity they undertook. One-quarter of the women owned a dog, and those who owned a dog were more likely to be physically active at least once a week, and to achieve three or more hours of physical activity each week. When broken down by type of activity, the one activity that dog owners did more of than women without a dog was brisk walking.
It is not surprising that women who own a dog would walk more regularly, However, before women go out and get themselves a canine companion, it should not be assumed that having a dog causes people who would otherwise be sedentary to be more active. It could be that people who have more active lifestyles are also more likely to have a dog.
While regular brisk walking is free and a good form of cardiovascular exercise for pregnant women, you do not need a canine companion to do it – you can just take yourself and avoid the need to clean up dog droppings.
In pregnancy, both NICE and the Department of Health advise that beginning or continuing a moderate course of regular exercise is beneficial but advise avoiding potentially dangerous, high-impact or contact sports.