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Exercising During Pregnancy

A very hotly debated topic amongst young and expecting mothers has been that of exercising during pregnancy.

Many expecting mommies cut down or completely cut out exercise for fear of doing any harm to their unborn child. However, research has confirmed that remaining active during pregnancy offers several benefits to the mother and to the future newborn as well.

Studies show active women who continued to exercise throughout pregnancy gained slightly less weight and had 16% fewer Caesarean sections. James Clapp, M.D., professor of reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, conducted several studies with pregnant women. His findings showed fit women had fewer complications such as meconium in the amniotic fluid, abnormal drop in foetal heart rate or cord entanglement.

The key is moderation. Doctors advise pregnant women to choose low impact aerobic activities like swimming, cycling or walking and to avoid exercises that could result in loss of balance and falls, or exercises where you might get a blow to the stomach.

Whether pre- or post-natal, you can only do good to yourself and your baby by staying fit and healthy.

Benefits of prenatal exercise:
  • Prevents gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, placenta previa
  • Improves use of carbohydrates and absorption of calcium
  • Keeps excess weight gain down and minimizes stretch marks
  • Faster return to pre-pregnancy weight.
Benefits of postnatal exercise:
  • Minimises postpartum blues and depression
  • Great stress relief for new moms
  • Gentle exercise can begin as early as two weeks with a certified pre/postnatal fitness expert and approval from your physician.
Convincing figures… women who exercise show:
  • 35% decrease in pain medication
  • 75% decrease in maternal exhaustion
  • 50% decrease in induced labour with pitocin· 55% decrease in episiotomies
  • 75% decrease in operative intervention (either with forceps or caesarean).

Remember to always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

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