Regular energetic exercise such as jogging and aerobics before pregnancy may help prevent pains common among mothers-to-be, suggests Norwegian research.
The study found exercising up to five times weekly before becoming pregnant may help stave off pelvic girdle pain.
The findings suggest high impact activities such as jogging, ball games and aerobics may be most helpful.
The researchers analysed data from more than 39,000 women in Norway who were expecting their first child between 2000 and 2009.
All were asked about the type and frequency of exercise they took in the three months before becoming pregnant.
In week 30 of pregnancy they were also asked about the frequency and intensity of pelvic girdle pain.
Those who took part in high impact exercise were less likely to report pelvic girdle pain. Taking other factors into account, energetic exercise between three and five times a week was linked to a 14% lower risk of developing pain by week 30 of pregnancy.
The researchers could not say exactly why this link might exist but pointed to the fact that exercise has been shown to relieve pain due to the “feel good” endorphins released.
“These results emphasise the importance of promoting regular exercise among women of childbearing age,” they concluded in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.