Exercise during pregnancy
Updated: Feb 6
There is so much misinformation that gets thrown around regarding exercising during pregnancy, which is not really surprising when studies have shown that 60% of physicians are unaware of the updated guidelines released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2009.
There are so many benefits to women exercising during pregnancy that include:
* Lower risk of gestational diabetes
* Lower maternal weight gain
* Short duration of labour
* Lower risk of Cesarean
* Improved strength in the pelvic floor region
* Better endurance
* Lower risk of instrumental vaginal delivery
* Lower pre-natal depression
The theory that the child will be lacking oxygen is outdated and unproved. Current literature shows that there is no change in blood flow and no change in oxygen saturation for the baby during moderate to high intensity exercise. There are not any negative neonatal outcomes for babies born to women who exercise regularly and at a level of intensity.
This is assuming that the mother is low risk, and has been exercising for some time prior to conception. Women are not advised to start a strenuous exercise routine after they have fallen pregnant, nor it is advised to continue to exercise if any health concerns arise throughout pregnancy.
Women who wish to be active in their pregnancy without any prior experience of fitness are suited to start pregnancy yoga / pilates classes, walking and low to moderate intensity exercises.
Women who have been working out regularly at gym doing any moderate to high intensity workouts prior to falling pregnant can continue to do so as long as it feels comfortable. The days of laying on the ground gasping for air or maxing out in a workout should be long gone, however there is no danger increasing your heart rate during a workout.
Interestingly one study compared the placentas of women who exercised regularly throughout their pregnancy vs women who did not and the placentas from the women who did exercise had a higher number of capillaries and veins.
The advice is for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every single day, this is all women regardless of their previous fitness experience.
Labour is after all, one big bloody marathon and who on earth would ever run a marathon without training for it?!
As always every single person is different and therefore every single pregnancy is different, please check with your midwife or health care professional before doing anything in your pregnancy, including exercise.
Thanks for reading
Love Cat x
Exercise in Pregnancy: A Clinical Review
Effect of maternal exercises on biophysical fetal and maternal parameters: a transversal study
Does exercise training during pregnancy influence fetal cardiovascular responses to an exercise stimulus? Insights from a randomised, controlled trial.