Exercise offers health benefits for pregnant women

Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 18:09:46-04

Physical fitness is very important for everyone, and this includes women who are pregnant. New research suggests exercising regularly offers many health benefits.

It may shorten the first stage of labor and reduce excessive birth weight. It’s also unlikely to prolong labor overall.  And there’s strong evidence that exercising while pregnant doesn’t increase the risk of premature birth.

Researchers found pregnant women who exercise intensely are not at an increased risk for induced labor, forceps or vacuum delivers.  It actually may reduce the need for a C-section. But, one should train to maintain their strength and stamina, not to build up. Repetitive weight training in the first three months may raise the risk of a miscarriage.

Not exercising during pregnancy is linked to more complications like as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, toxemia and a baby that can’t be delivered vaginally because it’s too big.

Exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare for labor and delivery. So here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX:

1. Healthy pregnant women should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week.
Breaking it into 10 minutes at a time is fine, especially for those who are just getting started.

2. Many forms of exercise like Yoga can be tailored to meet a pregnant woman’s needs.
If you’re not sure if it’s safe, talk to your doctor about it. 

3. If you feel sluggish after exercising, you may want to slow down.
You should feel energized for the rest of the day, not flat-out tired and drained.

4. If you have health issues, speak to your health care provider before exercising
Especially if you have conditions like preeclampsia, severe anemia or heart and lung diseases.

If a pregnant women experiences bleeding from the vagina, feeling dizzy or faint, chest pain, calf pain or swelling, they should stop exercising and call their obstetrician.