Exercise in pregnancy safe for baby, study finds

An article to share with you:

“Healthy pregnant women who exercise should be encouraged to continue, and if a woman is pregnant and is not an exerciser, she should be encouraged to start a moderate exercise program,” said study co-author Dr. Linda Szymanski, an assistant professor in the division of maternal-fetal medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Working mothers do no harm to their young children, research finds

I have just come across this Guardian article about working mothers which is really interesting:

“Mothers do not harm their young children emotionally or socially by going out to work, according to research that offers reassurance to women worried about juggling jobs and family responsibilities. In fact, girls seem to gain from being in a household where their mother works, according to analysis of families with children born in 2000.

“In a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, a team from the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London found no evidence of detrimental effects on the young children of mothers working part-time or full-time.”

If you are anything like me the guilt of going to work and leaving your baby at nursery never completely goes away. It’s nice to read about some proper research that shows we are helping our kids by going out to work in ways other than bringing in the money. I think too many people expect life to be easy – in reality if you want good things – relationships, a nice body, a good job – you have to work hard for them! I am happy to be showing my daughter that hard work leads to positive things.

What the experts say about exercise in pregnancy

In 2002 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG ) presented the first formal recommendation to include exercise throughout pregnancy, stating, ‘in the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women’ (2002).

They say:

  • All women should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle during their pregnancy.
  • Reasonable goals of aerobic conditioning in pregnancy should be to maintain a good fitness level throughout pregnancy without trying to reach peak fitness level or train for athletic competition.

In support of guidelines (2006) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG ) suggest that:

  • Women should choose activities that will minimise the risk of loss of balance and foetal trauma.
  • Women should be advised that adverse pregnancy or neonatal outcomes are not increased for exercising women.
  • Initiation of pelvic floor exercises in the immediate postpartum period may reduce the risk of future urinary incontinence.
  • Women should be advised that moderate exercise during lactation does not affect the quantity or composition of breast milk or impact on foetal growth.

The 3-Plan recognises this advice and incorporates it into its exercises programming:
FREQUENCY: 5–7 times a week (encompasses resistance and cardio)
INTENSITY: Moderate to hard (stick to the ‘talk test’)
TIME: 30+ minutes (if possible, otherwise smaller chunks)
TYPE: Recreational

Running in pregnancy

One of the most common things I hear is that it is not safe to run during pregnancy. There is no one-size-fits-all response to this. It largely depends on your pre-pregnancy fitness level and running experience.

If you have never been a runner do not start during pregnancy. If you love running, then pleeeeeeeeze don’t give it up if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy!

If you have only done a little bit of running I would suggest keeping it at a moderate intensity (jogging rather than running) and no more than 30 minutes a couple of times a week. If you haven’t done any running for at least a couple of months then do something else. If it feels at all uncomfortable then do something else.

If you are an experienced runner then there is no reason you cannot carry on running during your pregnancy. Stick to the safety advice about overheating, clothing, hydration and location.