Fitness and pregnancy
Fitness In Pre-Pregnancy Linked To A Lower Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
Women who wish to be pregnant in the future can boost their chances of a healthy pregnancy by exercising, report scientists from the University of Iowa.
Their study showed that improving fitness moderately could lower the risk of gestational diabetes by over 20% - which is good news, considering that this condition affects up to 14% of pregnant women in the U.S.
If you are considering pregnancy in the future, what type of exercise should you complete to reap these benefits?
Moderate Exercise Is All You Need
The study found that women who reaped the rewards of fitness in terms of reducing their gestational diabetes risk exercised for at least 150 minutes. They completed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week (or 30 minutes of exercise a day, five delays a week).
Moderate physical activity includes brisk walking, slow dancing, shooting a basketball, and even undertaking daily household tasks such as vacuuming or giving the windows a wash.
Vigorous activity, meanwhile, includes jogging, swimming, playing soccer, carrying heavy weights, and skipping rope.
The key test to estimating your level of activity is the ‘talk test’. If you can talk but not sing while you are exercising, then the chances are, you are undertaking a moderate activity. If you cannot say more than a few words without gasping for air, meanwhile, then you are probably involved in vigorous physical activity.
During pregnancy, you can select workouts specifically catered to you to meet maximum benefits.
Pilates, for instance, is a popular workout that enables pregnant women to strengthen the key muscles they need both during pregnancy and childbirth. These include core strengthening exercises, lower body strengthening, and Kegel workouts.
The latter are particularly important because they strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, bowels and uterus. Strengthening these areas enables women to control and relax the muscles they need for labor and birth as required.
Women undertaking exercises such as stationary cycling (which can cause chaffing and pain) should ensure they protect intimate areas during exercise. This can be achieved by wearing padded workout shorts, showering quickly after workouts to reduce sweat build-up, and wearing workout gear made with breathable fabric.
Consulting Your Doctor Is Key
It is important to run your routine by your obstetrician once you are pregnant, to ensure you aren’t overdoing things.
A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst study showed that high-level exercise is linked to very early pregnancy loss in women with a history of miscarriage. “The implantation period may represent a time of vulnerability, when high-strain activity could pose a risk for subclinical, or very early pregnancy loss,” stated scientists. They added that the risk of early pregnancy loss is twice as high in women who are highly active.
If you are thinking of getting pregnant in the future, engaging in moderate-to-vigorous activity on a daily basis is a good idea. Doing so can help you reduce your risk of gestational diabetes - a condition that is dangerous both for babies and mothers.
Always run your routine by a doctor once you are pregnant to ensure that you continue to benefit from exercise without any complications.
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