Yes, we know being pregnant is tough going and there are days when you literally just want to sit on the sofa and do not much else than reach for the remote control and your cup of tea.
However, there are a lot of good reasons to make sure you keep active and exercise throughout your pregnancy, mums-to-be.
More energy, easier recovery after birth, better control over pregnancy weight gain, better postnatal mental health – the list goes on.
And now a new study has pointed out yet another benefit of exercising when pregnant – a greatly reduced risk of any complications during pregnancy and birth.
Recently, Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta found that women who exercise during pregnancy saw their odds of developing perinatal depression reduced by 25 percent, and even better, they saw a 40 percent 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 was 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.
In fact, 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.
Because guess what – if you're having an uncomplicated, healthy pregnancy, there's actually more risk in not exercising than there is in getting those 150 minutes of physical activity a week. More importantly, 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.