Mounting research from the previous decade have highlighted exercise or more appropriately termed, physical activity, as being extremely important for the mother and the child during pregnancy. The new research has recently been consolidated into clinical guidelines for physicians and published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The report highlights that for newly expecting mothers if they have been physically active, staying active is important. For new mothers that have not been as active as they have wanted, starting to become more physically active is a smart choice. The report highlights that being physically active through pregnancy will help to prevent too much weight gain and tremendously reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that can form due to pregnancy.
The report highlights that many expecting mothers find a reason to become more physically active due to the fact that they are soon to be mothers, and that this realization, according to the research can be a very powerful motivator for lifestyle change. Accordingly, doing pregnancy safe exercises such as walking, water aerobics, or riding a stationary bike are the preferred exercise types for expecting mothers.
Just as there are preferred methods of exercising while pregnant, there are some that are not as preferred. High impact sports are an obvious no-no, but new research shows that expecting mothers actually have less coordination in their movements and are more prone to injuring themselves with fast, jerky, or high impact movements. Due to a pregnancy hormone called relaxin that assists in giving birth, as the hormone levels rise throughout pregnancy they can make injury a more common occurrence, so researchers are recommending to clinicians that high-intensity, high-speed sports such as downhill skiing, basketball, or soccer may be best left until later.
Overall, the report stresses that physical activity is extremely helpful in having a healthy baby and healthy mother during and after the pregnancy. Additionally the women that previously were not physically active and become so during pregnancy have almost double (42%) higher rate of success when it comes to maintaining the lifestyle change for over one year. All of these reasons, says Mary Collins MD, make staying or becoming physically active throughout pregnancy a wonderful choice for the mother.
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