Researchers say 150 minutes of physical activity a week makes a huge difference.
There are so many things that are out of our control during pregnancy. We can't control the nausea, food aversions or our bladders, and (even if you're getting induced) you can't control exactly when or how your baby is going to come.
There is so much we can't control, but we can control whether or not we exercise, and a new study suggests that working out during pregnancy can cut a mama's risk of complications by at least 25%.
Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta found that women who exercise during pregnancy saw their odds of developing perinatal depression reduced by 25%, and even better, they saw a 40% reduction in the risk of developing major complications like diabetes, gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.
"These guidelines are going to change practice," one of the lead researchers for the project, Margie Davenport states in a university release. "The health-care providers I've spoken to are pretty excited about it."
The study is part of the 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity Throughout Pregnancy, which states pregnant women should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week in order to minimize pregnancy complications. Walking, swimming, resistance training and stationary cycling are all encouraged.
According to the study's authors, all mamas to be should be physically active throughout pregnancy, unless they've got a contraindication, like an incomplete cervix or unexplained bleeding.
If you're having an uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy though, there's actually more risk in not exercising than there is in getting those 150 minutes of physical activity in. The study's authors found being physically active did not increase a mother's risk of having a low-birth-weight baby, a preterm delivery or a miscarriage. "These are typically reasons a pregnant woman would be less inclined to exercise," says Davenport.
Bottom line: Exercise is really good for pregnant mothers and is one way we can control (or at least minimize) our risk of complications. Although you will have to switch to less intense workouts as your pregnancy progresses, it is really important to keep moving (even if you're just waddling around the block or swimming a few laps).
You might also like:
- It's science: Exercising during pregnancy has lasting benefits for you + your baby
- What every postpartum mama needs to know about working out
- The physical (and mental!) benefits of working out with your kids