Pregnancy made me tired – really tired. Pregnancy fatigue made me collapse into the couch at the end of the day (or heck, even at the beginning of the day), and it made the thought of getting up off that couch extremely painful. If I didn’t have to pee ALL the time, I might have been tempted to live on the couch full-time.
But then, there was a nagging voice in my head that said I should be exercising during my pregnancy. Yes, the couch was more inviting than the thought of taking my altered centered of gravity for a run in shorts that no longer fit. The trick for me was to fit in the exercise before the couch and I made eye contact. Going straight from work to the yoga studio, the gym, or a walking trail was the only way exercise would happen. And most of the time, the movement felt really good. I felt better about myself and my changing body, and I slept better at night.
Beyond these immediate benefits, women who exercise during pregnancy often have shorter labor and delivery times, fewer pregnancy complications, and faster postpartum recovery. Who isn’t motivated by the thought of those benefits? The CDC and ACOG recommend that healthy pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week. That’s about 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, of walking, jogging, swimming, or whatever floats your boat, within reason.
Exercise is good for a pregnant mom, but what about her fetus? How does the fetus feel about all this jostling about and heavy breathing? Many studies have shown that moderate exercise is safe for the fetus, and a new study indicates that when mom exercises, the fetus actually becomes more fit, too!
In a recent study, Dr. Linda May and colleagues at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and the University of Kansas have found that more intense exercise during pregnancy is associated with changes in fetal heart rate similar to that found in adults undergoing fitness training . Read more