PREGNANT women are not taking exercising enough, research from the Southern Cross University reveals.
Dr Frances Doran and PhD candidate Nellie Buckley, of the School of Health and Human Sciences, have investigated the walking patterns of 112 pregnant women.
"It's not surprising that women exercise less and less as their pregnancy develops, but it is interesting that even rudimentary physical activity like walking drops right away," Mrs Buckley said.
"Women are encouraged to be active before, during and after pregnancy, however, most pregnant women do not engage in sufficient levels of physical activity.
"We decided to specifically explore walking in pregnant women because it is the most common activity undertaken by women across their lifespan, and during pregnancy, and is often recommended by health professionals.
"Walking in pregnant women was at its lowest in the third trimester, and may point to the fact that walking is no longer comfortable during late pregnancy.
"However, walking in each trimester was lower than before pregnancy for all women."
The research recorded a 29.9% decline in walking activity from pre-pregnancy in the first trimester and a further 24.9% drop in the second trimester. The third trimester had the largest decline of 35.2%.
Gladstone mum Pamela Syposez placed a huge importance of keeping active during her pregnancy.
"It was definitely important to me, just to keep in shape and it helped with my moods as well," Mrs Syposz said.
Her daughter Annabelle Olarte is now two and a half months old, and the exercise regime has stuck.
Before she fell pregnant, Pamela had a regular exercise regime, taking part in soccer, swimming and bike riding.
"During pregnancy I did yoga and pilates and a lot of swimming in the pool and walking.
"I really enjoyed swimming because you feel so heavy and being in the pool just picks that weight off you and you feel great," she said.
Mrs Syposz believed the benefits of her healthy lifestyle went beyond her own health.
"I had a very easy pregnancy with no problems and a quick recovery, and now I'm slowly easing back in to the exercise I did before my pregnancy," she said.