Should I exercise during pregnancy?
Should I exercise during pregnancy? If that question and others similar have ever crossed your mind then this is the post for you!
I recently experience the strangest thing at gym. I was running on the treadmill and in walked a visibly “very” pregnant woman. The two ladies on the treadmills next to me very audibly showed their disgust in the pregnant lady being at gym and were adamant she was going to harm the baby.
A new study appears.
Well, a Spanish study published in the JAMA (Journal of American Medicine Association) is encouraging women to exercise during pregnancy, their results showed that working out can have clear advantages for both mother and baby.
There have previously been some doubts over whether women can safely exercise during pregnancy, the new study should put everyone’s mind at ease after having reviewed previous studies and meta-analyses which together looked at thousands of women.
“The percentage of women who meet the recommendations for exercise during pregnancy is very low,” commented María Perales from Camilo José Cela University (UCJC) and the lead author of the study, “This is due in part to uncertainty about what type of exercise should be recommended and which should be avoided.”
It is super effective.
The research team found that there is a huge amount of scientific evidence that maintaining moderate exercise during pregnancy is not only safe but also greatly beneficial for both mother and baby, with exercise found to prevent weight gain (a key factor transmitting obesity to future generations) and lower the risk of fetal macrosomia (babies who are born weighing more than 4 kilograms), pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, caesarean section, lower back pain, pelvic pain and urinary incontinence.
It was also found that if the mother has no medical or obstetric reason not to partake in physical exercise there is no risk of premature birth, low birth weight or fetal distress.
So, this new research now advises that women who are already physically active should continue, and that those who are not should consider making pregnancy the time to start.
But, is it safe?
In line with recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the team of researchers also made suggestions on which is the most beneficial way to exercise during pregnancy, as well as which should be avoided as they might pose a risk to the baby.
They confirm that physical activity can be started between weeks 9 and 12 of pregnancy (after the first prenatal visit) until weeks 38-39, and advise three or four sessions a week combining both aerobic and strength training, with each session lasting 45 to 65 minutes.
The exercise intensity should always be moderate as a start and can be analyzed and adjusted throughout the sessions.
The team added that although Pilates and yoga, which are often recommended to pregnant women, are not linked to the physiological benefits found from other sports, they can be beneficial for improving mental health and reducing pain.
What to avoid?
In terms of what to avoid, Perales advises refraining from “all that which is strenuous (90% of maximum heart rate), since it may increase the risk of hypothermia, dehydration or reduced uterine blood flow with the associated risk of compromising the fetus’s health.”
Long-distance running, intense weight and isometric contraction training, jumps, impact exercises and exercises with risk of falling or in an outstretched supine position (lying on your back) must also be avoided.
So, in your face you two old ladies on the treadmill. Science has once again proven that “the way we did it in the olden days” is not always the best way.
Those ladies exercising during pregnancy, keep going! Keep healthy and keep strong!
Have you or your partner continued to exercise during pregnancy? How did people react to you in the gym? Tell us in the comments below.