If you’re expecting a baby in 2014, congratulations! Now more than ever it’s important to care for your body – and the baby you’re carrying. While your OB/GYN has probably prescribed prenatal vitamins, has he or she prescribed an exercise plan?
Surprisingly, many women and healthcare providers are still under the assumption that vigorous physical activity should be limited during pregnancy, which was one of the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1985. Since then, reams of research indicate that women who exercise can expect a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. Compared to expectant moms who are inactive, those who exercise are more likely to stay within the recommended weight gain range. They have a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. Furthermore, active women are less likely to deliver big babies (more than nine pounds) and their children may be less inclined towards obesity at two to five years of age.
The most recent U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy state that women who are not already active should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Those who were more active to begin with may continue their normal routines provided they communicate openly with their healthcare provider.
What remain undetermined are the best types of activities to perform during pregnancy. For instance, it may be better to do low-impact activities like brisk walking and swimming rather than running and jump roping. For guidance, seek out a qualified fitness professional and consult with your physician.