|The results from several
scientific studies on exercise and pregnancy are in, and the findings are
astounding. This is vital information for every mom-to-be, whether this is
her first pregnancy or beyond.
Five Questions About Exercise Every Pregnant Woman Must
1) Is it safe for me to exercise?
In a case-control study conducted at Swedish Medical Centre
in Seattle, women reported on activities of varying strenuousness,
including walking, brisk walking, and stair climbing. One woman even ran a
3-hour marathon, unaware that she was four months pregnant!
The study results showed that moderate exercise during
pregnancy is not only desirable, but that it is also necessary for optimal
Another study reported in the Journal of Psychosomatic
Obstetric and Gynaecology states that women who exercised regularly during
their pregnancies reported less depression and less stress in the first
and second trimesters. In addition, regular exercise reduced the risk of
gestational diabetes and toxaemia.
2) How does exercise affect the unborn baby?
When mums-to-be exercise during their pregnancies, it
has a marvellous effect on their babies. Maureen C. Hatch and her
co-workers at Columbia University found that the exercisers had babies who
were better equipped to handle illnesses. The study showed that the
babiesí mothersí fitness was passed on to them. Even more impressive
was the finding that exercise also improved their babiesí mental
3) Is there any effect on the babyís brain?
Yes, a report in the Journal of Paediatrics' stated that
the children of women who exercised faithfully throughout their
pregnancies all had significantly higher scores on oral language tests and
on general intelligence tests.
4) Are there long-term effects on the child when the
pregnant woman exercises regularly?
Yes again. In another study, Dr. James Clapp III found
that by age five, the babies of mothers who exercised for at least 30
minutes three times a week showed superiority in four ways:
* They scored higher on intelligence tests.
* They scored higher on oral language tests.
* They demonstrated better coordination.
* They had lower levels of body fat and were therefore
5) What effect does exercise have on labour and
Again, science backs up what Iíve been recommending to
my fitness clients for the past sixteen years. Exercise has a profound
effect on your labour and delivery. While no one can predict or guarantee
what your labor will be like, studies of groups of women are conclusive
enough to draw some definite conclusions.
A report in the Journal of Paediatrics says women who
exercise had, on average, two hours shorter active labour. Believe me,
when your contractions are coming strong and close together, two hours is
a big chunk of time! Furthermore, Caesarean births were significantly
So there you have it. Exercise during pregnancy is good
for you, both physically and emotionally. It can keep you more comfortable
during pregnancy and help you during labor and delivery. It can even help
your baby be healthy. With so many good reasons to exercise, how could you
As always, check with your health care provider, because
every woman and every pregnancy is different. If at any time during your
exercise you feel over-heated, stop and cool down. Do not let your heart
rate get over 120. And if you feel faint, dizzy, or start having
contractions, stop immediately and call your doctor.
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