Navigation Links
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise

Most women should keep active while pregnant, experts say,,

SUNDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- It's natural that a woman might be skeptical about exercising while she's pregnant. So many changes are occurring in her body, it makes sense to have second thoughts about whether exercise might harm her or her unborn child.

But it turns out that a thoughtful exercise program is good for both mother and child, according to medical experts.

"We know that women who exercise during pregnancy have less chance of developing certain conditions like gestational diabetes," said Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "Not only that, exercise maintains musculoskeletal fitness. Women can cope with the anatomical and physiological changes of pregnancy better when they're in good shape. They also tolerate labor better and recover more quickly from delivery."

The baby also benefits. One study found that when an expectant mother works out, her fetus reaps cardiac benefits in the form of lower fetal heart rates.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day most days of the week. First, though, all women should consult a doctor to make sure it's OK.

When choosing what sort of exercise to pursue, a woman should take into account the shape she was in before becoming pregnant, said Dr. Thomas Wang, a family practitioner for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

"A lot of things depend on the level of fitness they had before," Wang said. A mom-to-be should pursue activities that will provide a good level of exertion without testing the limits of her body's current conditioning. If she's just starting a fitness program to improve her health during pregnancy, she should start out slowly and be careful not to overexert herself.

But there are certain activities that should at least be undertaken with caution, if not avoided altogether. Pregnant women, for instance, should not go scuba diving, as that activity exposes the fetus to a risk of developing decompression sickness, also known as the bends.

Women also should think twice before engaging in activities where the risk of falling is higher, such as gymnastics, horseback riding, downhill skiing and high-intensity racquet sports. And they should avoid contact sports such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball.

"Anything that involves impact or the chance of abdominal trauma, they should try to avoid," Wang explained.

Exercise that's perfectly safe for expectant mothers includes Kegel exercises, swimming, walking, light dancing and yoga. Riding a stationary bicycle or working out on aerobic gym equipment -- elliptical or stair-climbing machines, for instance -- is also fairly safe, as long as care is taken to prevent a fall.

Most pregnant women also can take part in jogging, running and aerobics, especially if those were exercises they regularly performed before pregnancy.

Pregnant women who are doing weight training should emphasize improving their muscle tone, particularly in the upper body and abdominal area, according to the American Pregnancy Association. They should avoid lifting weights above their heads and performing exercises that strain the lower back muscles.

"There have been some studies that show heavy lifting causes a temporary drop in the baby's heart rate," Wang said. "It usually corrects pretty quickly, but they might want to be careful."

Other things to keep in mind if exercising while pregnant:

  • Avoid exercising to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness, as that could affect the oxygen supply to the fetus.
  • Avoid overheating, which can affect the baby's development. Don't exercise in hot weather.
  • During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to the womb.

Though that might seem like a lot of cautions for something that's supposed to be safe, doctors insist that women can and should engage in a well-thought-out fitness program during their pregnancy.

"By and large, if there are no medical complications of pregnancy, women can continue engaging in the same type of activities," Artal said. "Women should be encouraged to continue living an active lifestyle."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more on pregnancy and exercise.

SOURCES: Raul Artal, M.D., chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Thomas Wang, M.D., Kaiser Permanente, San Diego; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (; American Pregnancy Association (

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. USP announces new tool to help prevent medication mix-ups due to look alike/sound alike drug names
2. Hereditary breast cancer -- a high cost to patient and health care provider alike
3. New Natural Energy Bar Hits the Road with Dieters & Athletes Alike
4. U.S. Pharmacopeia 8th Annual MEDMARX(R) Report Indicates Look-Alike/Sound-Alike Drugs Lead to Thousands of Medication Errors Nationwide
5. Heart Chocolate(TM) With CM-X(TM) is Loved by Chocolate Connoisseurs and Diabetics Alike
6. Key protein may explain the anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits of dietary restriction
7. Glucose Control Pays Long-Term Benefits for Diabetics
8. Older volunteers perceived benefits vary with program traits
9. Sally Field, Phil and Jan Fenty, and Michelle King Robson to Be Honored at Benefit for Osteoporosis and Bone Health Awareness
10. Prominent New York Personal Injury Lawyer Says Insurance Companies Thwart Efforts Of Employees Seeking Workers Compensation Benefits In New York State
11. McGraw Wentworth Mid-Market Group Benefits Survey Shows Health Care Costs Increasing at 6-Year Low of 5%
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The McHenry County law ... successful appellate decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex C. Wimmer. Attorneys ... Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , According to court documents, Adcock ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Smiles by Stevens is pleased to announce the addition of ... patients are aware of the benefits of Botox® in the treatment of moderate facial ... discomfort, soreness, and pain as a result of Jaw Tension, TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) disorder, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Beddit® has launched a new Android app for use with ... more intuitive SleepScore™ that rates sleep quality on a 100-point scale and makes it ... a proprietary algorithm. Beddit analyzes the data to provide an easy to understand scientific ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... In an ongoing Clinical Study conducted by an ... IL, UV Angel is evaluating the efficacy of its product and its disinfection protocol. ... 30 beds) from May 2014 through October 2015 at a 360-bed, acute-care, academic medical ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Today, ... fatalities on our nation’s roadways has dropped below 10,000 for the first time since ... 10,076 in 2013. , According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... announced the issue of United States patent No. 9,192,509  entitled: " Methods ... the company,s AVACEN 100 dry heat therapy medical device and specific methods of use, referred to ... Photo - ... ... ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 USP 800 ... drug preparations (e.g. pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, ... technicians). The chapter also covers all entities which ... pharmacies, hospitals, other healthcare institutions, patient treatment clinics, ... --> --> What is ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Mindray ... (NYSE: MR ), a leading ... devices worldwide, today announced that it ... meeting of shareholders at the Company,s Hong ... Century, 193 Prince Edward West Road, Mongkok ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: