Pregnant women should not avoid exercise, as the scientists discovered that it helps them to have fewer pregnancy-related health conditions. Moreover, they were less likely to need a cesarean section.
Even if pregnant women are often advised not to engage in heavy physical labor, it turns out that mild exercise is safe for the mother and the fetus also.
Researchers from the Thomas Jefferson University found that exercise during the pregnancy lowers the chance of cesarean section and does not affect the risks of pre-term birth.
The study is not unique in the medical world, as previous researchers proved that exercise does not pose risks for women who have high-risk pregnancies. Another study even showed that physical activity could reduce complications.
Scientists feared that sport would release norepinephrine which in turn could lead to a preterm birth, as the chemical could stimulate uterus contractions. However, new studies showed that exercise does not produce premature labor.
The present study used data coming from 1,022 pregnant women who exercised three of four times a week for 35 to 90 minutes. Another 1,037 women were used as a control group. All the women had a normal weight and no complications involving the pregnancy.
The results were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It seems that there is no difference in the rates of preterm birth between the two groups. Moreover, the babies had similar weight at birth, and they were born at a similar gestational age.
However, the women who exercised had a 73% rate of vaginal deliveries, while the other had a 67% likelihood of giving birth naturally. The trend was the same for the c-section rate, with women that did not exercise at a slightly higher risk of needing the intervention.
Likewise, pregnant women with a less active life had a higher incidence of hypertensive disorders and gestational diabetes.
Women are usually afraid to take up physical exercises during pregnancy because of the fear of harming the baby. Also, they have an increased sense of tiredness and low energy levels.
Medical evidence shows that regular exercise and a more active life could actually be beneficial to the mother and the baby, and bring benefits during the pregnancy.
Gardening, walking, swimming, aerobics, dancing, yoga and stretching are some of the physical activities that can be included in a weekly schedule.
On a more general basis, the exercise can reduce back pain and offer women a better body image during pregnancy.
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