Until quite recently, many expectant mothers have been avoiding doing any form of exercise through fears of harming their fetus.
According to the study published by the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG), staying in shape and keeping active (in moderation) during pregnancy will not harm your baby.
The Royal College of Midwives also released a report highlighting how exercise during pregnancy could lower the risk of the mother developing gestational diabetes by up to 30%.
In fact, far from something to be avoided, physical exercise should be on your essential “to do” list during pregnancy.
Exercise in moderation
Although exercise for pregnant women is recommended, it should always reflect previous exercise regimes. “So for example it would not be appropriate for a woman who has done no exercise for many years to suddenly start running long distances in pregnancy. If women exercised regularly before pregnancy, they should be able to continue with no adverse effects.” recommends Mervi Jokinen, Practice and Standards Professional Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives.
She continues “if women have not exercised routinely they should begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, three times per week, increasing gradually to daily 30-minute sessions and if they any questions we advise them to talk to their midwife or GP.”
What are the risks of being inactive while pregnant
A lack of exercise or a certain degree of inactivity whilst pregnant is actually dangerous as it can lead to weight gain which risks the development of gestational diabetes.
Mervi Jokinen says: ‘It is important to keep physically active during pregnancy – moderate exercise will not harm the woman or her baby. Recreational exercise, such as swimming or brisk walking, is known to be beneficial and this study appears to show a potential benefit of exercise in reducing the risk of gestational diabetes. We know that there is an increase of this condition in pregnancy among obese women.”
Figures show that between 1-14% of inactive pregnant women are affected by diabetes, higher blood pressure and hypertension. Women who remain inactive during their pregnancy also are more likely to need a caesarian section.
Physical activities are therefore highly recommended in order to avoid unnecessary complications and ease your weight management.