Pregnancy: Is It Safe To Start Exercising If You Weren’t Already?

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pregnant_yogaThe life of a child starts nine months before they are ready to meet the rest of the world. In the mean time, while the baby is in the womb, it is up to the mother to make the best choices for herself and her baby so that they can both be healthy. One way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, or to exercise at least three or four times a week.

Many women want to also exercise during pregnancy so that they increase their flexibility which will in turn make labor and delivery easier. The problem is that many women are told that if they had not been exercising prior to their pregnancy, they should not start exercising.

Pregnancy is the ideal time to get moving. “Nowhere in the medical literature does it say that moderate exercise such as walking is unsafe, even for previously sedentary women,” says Raul Artal, M.D., chairman of the OB-GYN department at Saint Louis University in Missouri and lead author of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ guidelines on prenatal exercise.

The real hazard is inactivity, which contributes to excess weight gain, high blood pressure, aches and pains, and a higher risk for Cesarean section and gestational diabetes. Some 70 percent to 80 percent of women with gestational diabetes develop type II diabetes later in life, research shows, and their babies are themselves more likely to become overweight and develop diabetes.

If you have no prenatal medical complications, Artal recommends walking 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day; you can break up the time into shorter sessions if you like. There’s no need to go gangbusters. “You can achieve all the benefits with a moderate pace,” Artal says.
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