From the moment you get that positive pregnancy test, there are probably many thoughts racing through your head. As a runner and athlete, I know one of my first questions was can I still run and work out? Followed by how much? And what is safe? It can be hard to weed through all the easily accessible “advice” out there and, as most pregnant women know, “Googling” during pregnancy is not always reassuring!
Prenatal exercise has been found to be beneficial for mother and baby. A 2016 review of literature looked at almost 100 studies and found overwhelming evidence of this. Benefits of prenatal exercise for the mother included a decreased risk of developing preeclampsia, hypertension, gestational diabetes mellitus, excessive weight gain, rate of spontaneous abortion, congenital abnormalities and preterm labor.
As for baby, exercise during pregnancy has been found to be associated with a more normal birth weight and steady growth through childhood. It has also been correlated with improved cardiovascular health and nervous system development throughout childhood, possibly because exercise during pregnancy creates a healthy environment during a “critical time of organ development”. Some of the studies reviewed even looked at cognitive measures and intelligence which also indicated increased development in babies of exercisers.
The consensus is that, barring no medical complications, exercise during pregnancy is beneficial for you and your baby.
Moyer, C, Reoyo, O and May, L. The influence of prenatal exercise on offspring health: a review. 6Clinical Medicine Insights: Womens Health 2016; 9: 37–42.