In a number of past blogs, we dedicated our attention to the fact that exercising during pregnancy is necessary for the health of the both the unborn baby and the mother-to-be. Yes, it’s true that one’s pregnancy is a time when a lot of rest and relaxation is required. But it certainly doesn’t pay for expectant mothers to convert into couch potatoes. Studies have shown that inactivity is actually harmful to unborn babies.
FinancialExpress.com reports on a University of Warwick study that found a link between depression in pregnancy and long periods of sitting down. “The study found that those suffering from symptoms of depression during pregnancy are more likely to sit down for long periods of time in the second trimester,” reads the site, “The academics also found this puts them at risk of greater weight gain and contracting gestational diabetes.”
The study, which examined over 1,200 women, also found that reducing sitting time can potentially reduce the risk of gestational diabetes for pregnant women. It can also reduce the metabolic risk factors of their newborn babies. Nithya Sukumar, who led the study, believes that early intervention to improve both the physical and mental health of moms-to-be can help to reduce the risks associated with a lack of exercise during pregnancy.
Sensibly, it is not recommended for pregnant women to engage in any rigorous activity or intense workouts. However, light exercises that include walking, yoga and kegel exercises can help with the overall health of both mother and baby. The Public Health Agency of Canada admits that there once was a time when medical experts advised against physical activity for expectant mothers.
Today, exercise is recommended to promote a healthy pregnancy. According to their Healthy Pregnancy Guide, regular physical activity during pregnancy has a number of health benefits that include improving one’s mood and self-image, ensuring appropriate weight gain and promoting relaxation and reduced stress. Furthermore, exercising during pregnancy also helps moms-to-be get better sleep while building their stamina for labour and delivery.
What types of exercises are recommended for those who have been inactive? “If you’ve been inactive, start with mild activities like walking and swimming,” says The Public Health Agency of Canada, “Even five minutes a day will help. Gradually increase the time you’re active to 30 minutes a session. Before starting a new physical activity program, you should talk to your doctor.”
They also strongly advise expectant mothers to not overdo it! The type of exercise that enables you to carry on normal conversations is recommended. As well, they note that if you’re feeling more fatigued than normal, it’s best to relax for the rest of the day. Keeping hydrated is also of paramount importance. Drinking a lot of water both during and after light workouts helps to avoid overheating and dehydration.
What types of exercises are recommended for those who are already active? “If you’re already active, think about how you can modify or replace weight-bearing activities such as running, high-impact aerobics, hiking and tennis with low-impact activities such as walking and swimming as your pregnancy progresses,” advises says The Public Health Agency of Canada.
At the Reproductive Care Centre, our team works diligently to ensure that our patients are well informed about the best routes to take to ensure that they have the healthiest pregnancies possible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us and ask them. You can reach our Mississauga clinic at 905-816-9822.