Pregnancy & Exercise, It Is Safe.
Becoming pregnant is a life-changing event for every woman and it is often a time when many new lifestyle changes are implemented. Many will stop smoking, consider eating more healthy and adopt a new exercise routine.
It was previously thought that pregnant women were more fragile and it was recommended for them to reduce their level of physical activity. However many new guidelines have suggested this is not the case, and in fact, a suitable, regular exercise routine has many benefits for both the mother and foetus.
Regular exercise helps to reduce blood glucose (sugar) levels, which may potentially help to reduce or manage the development of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus1.
In addition, studies have shown there could be a preventative effect of physical activity on the development of pre-eclampsia1. Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that affects up to 10% of all pregnancies in Australia and causes high maternal blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling2. The exact cause of this condition remains largely unsolved, but genetic factors, women with their first pregnancy and pre-existing diabetes and/or high blood pressure may appear more at risk2.
There is also a concern that exercise may impair blood flow to the foetus and also interfere with its growth, but this is simply not true. Many scientifically conducted clinical studies have shown that blood flow is not altered by moderate-intensity physical activity1.
Still unconvinced? If you needed a further reason to exercise, then this fact may push you over. Regular exercise may help to shorten the duration of labour by up to 30 minutes! It may also reduce C-section or assisted deliveries in some women1.
The current Australian guidelines recommend that pregnant women should complete at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise each week3. Changes to the program may occur as the pregnancy reaches its final weeks and according to the individual’s previous fitness levels and ability.
So, if you are currently pregnant or planning to be, then speak to a health professional today about the best way you can incorporate a regular, safe and suitable exercise routine today!
This article is a non-sponsored collaboration with RubyFit Blogger- Australian Women’s Activewear. One of Australian Mum’s blogging initiatives is to promote healthy living & eating with a realistic view.
Masters of Pharmacy
BA in Sport and Exercise Management
Lover of health and fitness ☺
References for this article:
- Hinman K.S. et al (2015).‘Exercise in Pregnancy: A Clinical Review’. Sports Health Journal; Vol 7 (no.6)
- Better Health Channel 2011. Pregnancy Pre-eclampsia. State Government of Victoria, viewed 3 November 2016: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-pre-eclampsia
- Better Health Channel 2014. Pregnancy and Exercise. State Government of Victoria, viewed 3 November 2016; https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-and-exercise