Ok, so maybe this isn't the most profound news flash. I mean, who doesn't know that exercise is healthy, right?...
Ok, so maybe this isn't the most profound news flash. I mean, who doesn't know that exercise is healthy, right? Still a new study showcased in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) relates some new benefits of prenatal exercise that all mamas should pay attention to. According to the new research, exercise during pregnancy can strengthen and improve overall musculoskeletal and physiologic health as well as pregnancy related symptoms. Exercises noted as being healthy and smart for expecting mamas include aerobics, impact and non impact activities, resistance training and swimming. The above exercises can ease back pain, lower blood pressure, reduce pregnancy swelling, and improve post-partum mood, including sadness. Marlene DeMaio, M.D., M.C., U.S.N., notes that data shows that the pregnant woman's body can compensate for the changes with no harm to the fetus during low to moderate intensity exercise. DeMaio states, "It is important to remember that pregnancy is a temporary condition, not a disease, and that the musculoskeletal and physiologic changes that happen are normal in the majority of patients." In the past, as recently as the 1990s, some doctors have expressed concern, noting that there exercise could be detrimental to a pregnant woman and her fetus. And still today, some physicians continue to advise their pregnant patients to ease back on exercise or refrain from it altogether if they have not already made it a part of their lifestyle. The new study shows that this is the wrong sort of thinking and that physicians and midwives may recommend exercise for pregnant patients in the following categories:
  • Prenatal: Patients should begin or continue low to moderate exercise. The goal is to maintain fitness and adapt exercise as needed as pregnancy progresses. (For example, runners might switch to running in a swimming pool later in their pregnancy.)
  • Postnatal: Continue exercising at low to moderate levels. Lactation is not negatively affected by exercise. There are fewer reports of mothers having post-partum depression or mood changes when they are exercising.
  • Older mamas: Exercise is even more important if the patient is older, according to Dr. DeMaio. The risk for high blood pressure and prenatal diabetes goes up the older a patient is, and exercise can help reduce these levels.
  • Obese: Physicians should discuss pregnancy as an opportunity to improve overall health and suggest the patient start exercise for life-long health and as an example to the child when the child is older.
  • Infertile: Even if a woman is under treatment for infertility, she can exercise under the supervision of her obstetrician.
  • Athlete: For a pregnant woman wanting more strenuous exercise, or who wants to increase training from moderate to high intensity, a qualified doctor should direct her exercise program.
So no matter who you are, or what sort of pregnancy you're experiencing, there's a good chance that you can safely exercise, which will improve your health, your baby's health, and make for a possible easier labor. Talk to your prenatal provider about the best exercise program for your situation, but don't let them brush exercise off as a hazard - you're pregnant, not sick.

Tags: exercise and pregnancy have an easy labor healthy newborn


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