Exercise in pregnancy is good for mother and baby

Women in good shape ‘cope with labour better and recover more quickly from delivery’

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A study done at the American College of Obstetricians has revealed that an expectant mother who works out is benefiting her baby as the foetus reaps cardiac benefits in the form of lower foetal heart rates.

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Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, said: “We know that women who exercise during pregnancy have less chance of developing certain conditions like gestational diabetes, but 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 labour better and recover more quickly from delivery.”

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.

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