Research Backs More Active vs. Sedentary Pregnancies

Medical advice of the past just isn’t as relevant to pregnant people as it once was. Back in the day bed rest for pregnancies without complications, concern about gaining enough weight to support the baby, and being weary of structured exercise was the norm.

Nowadays, about 45 percent of parents-to-be start off as “obese” or “overweight.” This shift has sparked research into how much activity is safe and needed during these nine months and, as it turns out, exercise recommendations are about the same for non-pregnant people.

A Viewpoint article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says pregnancy advice needs an update. Because weights for both parents and babies have increased over the last few decades, the recommendations for physical activity have gone under the microscope and no longer seem to apply to the modern day.

Some exercise has always been generally acceptable during pregnancy, but research is showing that staying about as active as someone would be when they aren’t pregnant is ideal: 20-30 minutes a day, making sure the exertion level passes the “talk test” (being able to carry a conversation while exercising).

“Pregnancy is no longer considered a state of confinement,” say the authors of the article. “An active lifestyle during pregnancy is safe and beneficial.” The benefits of exercise during pregnancy are extensive, ranging from less risk of preeclampsia and Caesarian-section deliveries, less back pain and urinary incontinence, and even a boosting baby’s brain development. It has also been found that active pregnancies can result in lower rates of obesity in children.

There are some movements to avoid during pregnancy, including long-distance running, increasing heart rate over 90 percent maximum, exercises that require laying on one’s back during the last two trimesters and some heavy lifting. Although, some experts say that lifting during pregnancy can be safe, as long as expectant parents reduce their capacity by about 25 percent.

The JAMA article referenced a meta-analysis which observed over 2,500 pregnant women, as reported by The Washington Post. Among the participants who were of “normal” weight and exercised regularly, they found no risk of low birth weight or preterm birth, enhancing the appeal of exercise during pregnancy. In fact, the authors argue that this time is great for someone to start a physical activity regimen because their motivation to be healthy soars through the roof.

Being active while pregnant can be a great start to parenthood. To get started with some easy exercises, try these suggestions and—as always—stay connected with your doctor for guidance.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

42 comments

Jennifer S
Past Member 3 months ago

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Carl R
Carl R2 years ago

Thanks!!!

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Roberto MARINI
Roberto MARINI2 years ago

good advice for pregnant women, thanks

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Carl R
Carl R2 years ago

thanks!!

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Nicole Heindryckx

Regretfully, I only got pregnant 1 time. But pregnancy is NOT a disease. So why should you not keep up with your normal activities ?? I fully agree that during the last 2 to 3 weeks, the only thing I could do was walking. But that is also a bit of exercise. And after nine months I barely weighed 3 kilos more than before, and I had a beautiful baby boy of 3,6 kilos. Wonderful !

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Nicole Heindryckx

Jessica W. : If I can read well, this article was about weight / exercising during pregnancy ? So if you want to join the conversation, please keep to the issue. No one has asked you for any herbal medicine man. Thank you !

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Jim V
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S2 years ago

thanks

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer2 years ago

Ty

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Jim V
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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