what are the results of physical exercise during pregnancy on the birth of the child
The amount of physical activity men and women actually do is significantly less than they say they do, study says. http://t.co/1PuzzvFZaX
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) January 7, 2014
It used to be that pregnancy offered a good reason to sit down and put your feet up. But times have changed for pregnant women in good health. In January 2002, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released new recommendations on exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period that encourage many more women to get up and get fit while pregnant.
According to ACOG's guidelines, unless there are medical reasons to avoid it, pregnant women can and should try to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.
In the short term, exercise helps all of us feel better physically and emotionally, and the calories burned help prevent excessive weight gain. People who exercise regularly develop stronger muscles, bones and joints. And over time, the benefits of regular exercise are even more impressive: lower risk of premature death, heart disease and other serious illnesses.
For pregnant women, exercise has added benefits. It can help prevent gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that sometimes develops during pregnancy. For women who already have gestational diabetes, regular exercise and changes in diet can help control the disease.
Exercise can relieve stress and build the stamina needed for labor and delivery. It can also help women cope during the postpartum period. Exercise can help new mothers keep “baby blues” at bay, regain their energy and lose the weight they gained during pregnancy.
Before you go out and run a marathon, talk with your health care provider. Not all pregnant women should exercise, especially if they are at risk of preterm labor or suffer from a serious ailment, such as heart or lung disease. So check with your health care provider before you start an exercise program.
Next, decide what type of exercise you will do. Pick things you think you will enjoy. You may want to try several things. For example, brisk walking for 30 minutes or more is an excellent way to get the aerobic benefits of exercise, and you don't need to join a health club or buy any special equipment. You could also run, hike or dance, if you like. Swimming is another sport that is especially good for pregnant women. The water supports the weight of your growing body and provides resistance that helps bring your heart rate up. You can also look around for aerobics and yoga classes designed for pregnant women. You may find that a variety of activities helps keep you motivated to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy—and beyond.
Be careful when choosing a sport. Avoid any activities that put you at high risk for injury, such as horseback riding or downhill skiing. Stay away from sports in which you could get hit in the belly, such as ice hockey, kickboxing or soccer. Especially after the third month, avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back. Lying on your back can restrict the flow of blood to the uterus and endanger your baby. Finally, never scuba dive. This sport may lead to dangerous gas bubbles in the baby's circulatory system.
When you exercise, pay attention to your body and how you feel. Don't overdo it—try to build up your level of fitness gradually. If you have any serious problems, such as vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headaches, chest pain, decreased fetal movement or contractions, stop exercising and contact your health care provider immediately.
With a little bit of caution, you can achieve or maintain a level of fitness that would shock your grandmother. You'll feel and look better. And yes, you can still put your feet up—after you've come back from your walk.