Pregnancy and exercise can work well together for the benefit of both mother and child. Women with normal pregnancies can exercise well into the third trimester of the pregnancy with no ill effects.
The American College of Sports Medicine endorses the health benefits of exercise for pregnant women and their fetuses. The published report is based on findings from a national panel of scientific and clinical experts who evaluated numerous published studies.
The report is based on the most current research, which clearly suggests long-term benefits from physical activity for both the mother and her baby. It is the consensus of the expert panel that exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period reduces risk of:
1) Preclampsia - This condition is marked by high blood pressure, proteinuria (protein in urine) and edema in the mother, which makes her more likely to experience metabolic disturbances during this time similar to those with coronary heart disease and chronic hypertension.
2) Helps Treat Gestational Diabetes - Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes during pregnancy, related to a shift in hormones causing insulin resistance and high blood glucose. Exercise is considered therapy for this condition.
3) Helps Manage or Alleviate Pregnancy-Related Musculoskeletal Conditions - Previous physical fitness can help manage low-back pain, pregnancy-related urinary incontinence, abdominal muscle disturbances and joint and muscle injuries.
4) Links Breastfeeding and Postpartum Weight Loss - Weight loss can occur through moderate exercise and sensible calorie restriction without negatively affecting breast milk production and infant growth.
5) Positively Impacts Mood and Mental Health - Many women experience negative mood symptoms during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Exercise has been shown to improve mood, increase vigor, reduce fatigue, stress and anxiety, decrease symptoms of negative mood and depression, and improve self-concept.
In part 2 of this series, I will discuss resistance and cardio training for pregnant women. Stay tuned!
Mark Dilworth, Certified Personal Trainer
Her Fitness Hut http://herfitnesshut.com