For many years, pregnant women were told that they should not exercise for fear of harming the baby. That idea has been soundly debunked over the past couple of decades, and most OB-GYNs will tell you that moderate levels of exercise are good for you and the baby, especially if you had been exercising before becoming pregnant.
Recent studies have shown that it’s OK to engage in intense exercise during pregnancy, as long as
- You are in relatively good shape
- You had been exercising before becoming pregnant
- You consult your doctor first, especially if you plan on changing your exercise regimen
The studies further suggested that moderate levels of exercise are healthy for women who had not exercised before becoming pregnant. Under most circumstances, women should be encouraged to begin exercising during pregnancy if they have not already adopted an exercise regimen. Of course, there are a number of extenuating circumstances which could come into play during pregnancy, and you should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.
One study, conducted at the University of Auckland in Australia, found that birth weights were slightly lower (5 ounces on average) if the mother regularly exercised during pregnancy. The lower birth weights were still well within healthy bounds. In fact, most doctors agree that the lower birth rates are beneficial as long as they don’t go below acceptable ranges.
If you choose to exercise during pregnancy (and you should, in most cases), it’s important to choose the right kinds of exercise. You should avoid contact sports, of course, or exercises which involve a lot of jarring or risk of present a falling risk. You should avoid kickboxing, but Walking, jogging, aerobics or Zumba are fine.
Of course, it’s always important to pay attention to your body’s signals while you are exercising. This is especially important during pregnancy. Throw the old adage “no pain, no gain” out the window. If you experience significant discomfort or pain, stop exercising and consult your doctor before starting up again. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What kinds of exercise are you doing? How are they working with your pregnancy?