Many pregnant women ask this question. In fact, statistics show that only 15 percent of pregnant women exercise since they view it as risky. However, multiple research studies show exercise in early pregnancy can reduce risks of complications, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety. Exercise has also been linked to an easier labor and delivery.
Exercise is not only safe during pregnancy but is highly recommended to prevent complications such as gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. In fact, James Clapp, M.D., author of Exercising Through Your Pregnancy(2002), and medical research expert in prenatal exercise as well as a professor at Case Western Reserve University has done extensive research on how exercise lowers complications
from pregnancy and improves outcomes.
His research shows that regular weight bearing exercise during pregnancy lowers markers of insulin resistance and blood glucose concentration during and immediately after exercise.
A 2008 study by Dr. Clapp showed that women who voluntarily maintain their exercise regimen during pregnancy continue to exercise over time at a higher level than those who stop. They also vast reap benefits following their pregnancies such as:
- Gaining less weight in the future (7.5 pounds versus 22 pounds)
- Deposit less fat (4.8 pounds versus 14.7 pounds)
- Have increased fitness
- Have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease even during the peri-menopausal period.
If you are a high-risk pregnancy, exercise may not be an option. It is always best to get your doctor’s approval for the type and modality of exercise that is safe for you and your baby.
Respect for your baby’s health and yourself begins prior to getting pregnant. Begin your pregnancy with a balanced eating and exercise program, and maintain that balance throughout your pregnancy.
Research shows that exercise during pregnancy reaps huge rewards, both for you and your baby!