Any mom knows just how exhausting a new baby can be, so surely pregnancy is a time to put your feet up, isn't it? This is the time when you relax and do as little as possible, making the most of the relative calm before the storm of nappies and sleepless nights. Possibly not. Two new studies add to other research in the area of prenatal fitness to suggest moms-to-be might want to keep exercising.
Being pregnant can be exhilarating for some but it is generally fairly exhausting too. It's not always the time of a woman's life when she feels like going for a run or working out. However, with the right advice from doctors and fitness experts, pregnancy exercise could be beneficial to both mother and child. For example, there's evidence that mindful yoga could have an impact on the emotional bond between a mother and her newborn, to counter any baby blues and post-natal depression.
Less cesarean deliveries
A recent Spanish study conducted at the University of Granada concluded that there was a link between exercise in pregnancy and baby weight. In turn, this had an impact on the likelihood of delivery through cesarean section. While the primary purpose of the study was to establish a link between gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and moderate-intensity exercise, a secondary outcome was identified.
The study involved 510 sedentary pregnant women and randomly gave part of this group an exercise plan of 55 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week during their second and third trimesters. The outcome revealed that the exercise group's chances of having a high birth weight baby, of more than eight pounds 13 ounces, had dropped by 58%. The result of this was that cesarean deliveries also fell in this group by 34%.
Lower C-reactive protein
In a second study, the relationship between physical activity and levels of CRP in the blood of pregnant women in their second trimester was investigated. CRP is C-reactive protein that has been linked with a number of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, as well as premature birth.
The physical activity of 294 pregnant women was assessed and their CRP measured. The evidence suggested that light intensity physical activity was associated with lower CRP. It seems as if walking and other less intense exercise could be protecting mother and baby rather than just keeping women in shape.
Pregnant women need to adapt their activities to accommodate the changes and bodily challenges that carrying a baby entails. While a sit-down-and-do-nothing approach to pregnancy and exercise may not be best for mother and newborn, it's also important that exercise is less intense with low or no impact. Exercise can energize you and also help when it comes to the labor room and being able to give birth more comfortably.
If you're pregnant or expect to be pregnant soon, get in touch with us to find out about the best prenatal exercise you can do. We can also help you get your pre-baby weight and figure back too.