Awww, the benefits of exercise! At this point, there is no question that exercise is good for you. But is pregnancy exercise good for you and your baby? Many women throw exercise on the backburner when they’ve got a bun in the oven. There are several reasons why this happens. Not enough time in the day. It is harder than ever to get motivated. Some days you feel so nauseous that it is a huge victory just getting out of bed. And with the lack of compelling research to support the benefits of pregnancy exercise, those other reasons are more often used. Well, until now…
“A new study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, has found that exercise during pregnancy is safe for both mother and baby. Crucially, they also discovered that continuing exercise during pregnancy actually has some significant benefits for the mother and baby. Researchers analyzed data from 2,059 pregnant women. All of the women were carrying a single baby (not twins) and had a normal body weight before their pregnancy. Around half of the women exercised for 35 to 90 minutes 3 to 4 times per week for 10 weeks or up until their delivery. The other half of the women didn’t exercise at all. The researchers found that women who exercised were more likely to deliver vaginally (73 per cent of exercising women delivered vaginally whereas 67 per cent of non-exercising women delivered vaginally). Likewise, there was a lower incidence of C-section in women who exercised during pregnancy (17 per cent of exercising women had a C-section versus 22 per cent in those who did not). There was also lower incidence of gestational diabetes, and lower rates of high blood pressure in the exercising group. Steve Robson is an associate professor at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He says that he is not at all surprised by the results of the study. “It is well-recognized that pregnancy exercise helps avoid a number of problems that seem to lead to caesarean section – diabetes, gaining too much weight, developing blood pressure problems,” he says. “We should encourage exercise during pregnancy, as long as the woman is comfortable and there are no pregnancy risks (such as hypertension or threatened premature labor) that could be a problem.” Taking it a step further, Dr. Robson also notes that exercise can help women to maintain a positive outlook during pregnancy. In terms of specific exercise, Dr. Robson recommends brisk walking, water aerobics, other pool-based exercise and yoga. He also notes that women who were keen runners or cyclists can continue these as long as they’re physically comfortable.”
Being a women who enjoys exercise and struggled to maintain it while pregnant, these results make me wish I made it more of a priority. It is impossible to say if more consistant pregnancy exercise would have prevented the need to deliver my baby cesarean. But, like most mothers I would do anything to increase my chances of a safe healthy childbirth. I have 2 important points to make. Point #1.) If you choose to continue your pregnancy exercise routine, remember the goal should be to maintain your current fitness level. If you want to start a pregnancy exercise routine ,consult your doctor for a personal recommendation tailored to your current fitness level. Point #2.) Everybody is different and ultimately, a positive stress-free-self trumps all. Therefore, if the thought of exercise stresses you out, find some other outlet.
Lets empower pregnant women to take advantage of the benefits of exercise by commenting below: What pregnancy exercises or activities do you enjoy? What pregnancy exercises do you feel helped you when it came time to deliver?