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Exercise Good For Moms-to-be, Little Risk To Baby


New Member
Nov 10, 2004
Most pregnant women can and should participate in regular physical activity, according to the latest advice from sports medicine experts.

A review of research on the topic suggests that exercise is beneficial for pregnant women -- including those who were previously inactive -- and that it poses little or no harm to the developing fetus.

"Physicians who see pregnant patients should be able to discuss exercise recommendations based on each woman's prepregnancy activity level, general health, and fitness goals," writes Dr. Amanda K. Weiss Kelly, of Case Western Reserve University, in Ohio.

"Unless contraindications are a factor, moderate aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises should be encouraged," she adds in the June issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

Years ago, most women were advised to refrain from exercising during pregnancy for various reasons, including the observation that women whose occupations required physical work or standing for long periods of time tended to experience pre-term delivery and to have babies who were small for their gestational age.

Also, published reports have suggested that pregnant women who exercise may experience certain physiological and metabolic changes, such as increased temperature and decreased blood flow to the uterus, that could hinder fetal development.

Overall, however, research shows that exercise poses virtually no risk to the fetus. Conflicting evidence exists for its effect on fetal size, but most studies suggest that exercise does not increase or decrease the weight of infants. Further, babies born to exercising women may be less likely to have abnormal heart rate patterns, and appear to be more alert than those born to sedentary mothers.

Exercise is also very beneficial for expectant mothers, and does not appear to be associated with a higher risk of preterm labor or delivery, as previously believed.

Low-back pain and other musculoskeletal complaints tend to be less common among women who exercise while pregnant in comparison to their sedentary peers. Pregnant women who exercise tend to have a better self-image, less signs of depression, and they have been shown to return to their pre-pregnancy weights more quickly than sedentary women.

More.... http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_25530.html