Discussing OBGYN Care

Should You Make An Extra Effort To Exercise While Pregnant?

As a pregnant woman, you probably take prenatal vitamins and watch what you eat. You may even do some walking or easy exercise, but working out might be more important than you think. And while your obstetrician may encourage you to walk or do other light exercises, this might be a good time to discuss what some of the benefits could be to considering this.

Exercising in Pregnancy Can Be Connected to Baby's Activity Levels for Life

Mice that exercise during pregnancy are more likely to have offspring that like to be active, according to a study published recently in The FASEB Journal (an academic publication focusing on experimental biology).

While you're not a mouse, there might be a correlation to humans. Previously, researchers attributed the increased activity in the children to genetics or to environment -- meaning that kids exercised because they inherited the physical ability to be more active or because their parents encouraged them to. This study, in contrast, looked at how exercise during pregnancy impacted the health of the baby for life.

In particular, scientists noted that the offspring had an easier time being active and losing weight as adults. That could mean that what you do now for your developing baby could impact him or her for life.

Recommendations for Exercise in Pregnancy

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women exercise in pregnancy for their own well-being. Exercise can help pregnant women maintain an ideal weight gain and avoid gestational diabetes, in addition to feeling better emotionally.

If you don't have any complications with your pregnancy, your doctor is likely to allow you to continue any exercise program that you engaged in prior to becoming pregnant. Some women may also be encouraged to begin moderate exercise programs that incorporate cardiovascular and strength-bearing activities.

Daily work for at least 20 to 30 minutes appears to provide the most benefits for the majority of pregnant women, with minimal risk.

What should you watch for when you exercise? 

  • Limit workouts to 45 minutes so you don't get too warm.
  • Be especially sure to stay well hydrated and drink before, during and after your workout.
  • Don't engage in activities like scuba diving that could inhibit your ability to get enough oxygen.
  • Avoid hard exercise that would be challenging for a non-pregnant person, like preparing for a marathon. 

Exercise in pregnancy can definitely have benefits to you and for your child. If you have questions about exercising during pregnancy, talk to an obstetrician, such as Desert Rose OBGYN PC, for more information.