The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.
Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sports, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable. Exercise is not dangerous for your baby – there is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.
No studies showed adverse outcomes from exercise during pregnancy.
What research says:
- Women that enrolled in physical activity before and during labour gave birth to heavier babies the opposite to women that never exercised or stopped exercising during pregnancy.
- Exercise during pregnancy had no deleterious effect on birth outcome and also reduces the risk of low weight birth outcome.
- Exercise before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of GDM (gestational diabetes mellitus) and pre-eclampsia.
Case Study about pregnancy and exercise:
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology endurance exercise during pregnancy showed (women who exercise during all pregnancy(group1) vs women that stopped exercise during pregnancy(group2) :
- lower incident of abdominal and vaginal operative deliver (something like 6%vs 30%) and reduce labour duration (less 30% in group 1)
- Labour started significantly earlier in group1 (but within clinical normal values)
- reduced fetal stress (group1)
Pregnancy and exercise facts:
- exercise before and during pregnancy reduces lumbar and pelvic pain
- exercise during pregnancy decreases incontinence during and after labour.
- exercise before and during pregnancy increases recovery time post labour.
- exercise before and during pregnancy improves weight control.
- exercise before and during pregnancy increases energy levels.
- exercise before and during pregnancy decreases stress.
Be aware when exercising:
- Women’s body temperature increases.
- There is more range of motion / flexibility: this may not be a good thing when it comes to exercising. This increase in range of motion is due to the release of the hormone relaxin. Therefore the joint may become less strong and stable which could lead to an increased risk of injury especially if the exercise application is not adequate.
- Don’t exercise prone (lying on your front) after 16 weeks or when in discomfort. The weight of the baby can obstruct important blood flow.
- Avoid scuba diving or altitude
- Say no to contact sports