New research shows that exercise is often healthy for pregnant women, so people need to stop hating on fit moms-to-be

Pregnant fitness experts get a lot of flack on social media, particularly Facebook/Instagram bloggers. It’s clear they’re proud of their athleticism while carrying a baby — so naturally, they want to take us on their fit pregnancy journeys. We say if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

However, some people tend to think exercising while pregnant may cause the fetus harm. But according to a new report from the International Olympic Committee, strenuous exercise isn’t as much of a concern as previously thought. In fact, this new research says that exercise may not cause any further complications for mom or baby. (However, it should also be noted that there isn’t a lot of evidence suggesting the same is true for elite athletes, as their bodies know how to push the limits.)

For the most part, easy exercise, like walking, is okay and sometimes encouraged. Though, for the aforementioned elites used to a more rigorous routine, special care may be needed. Also, weight training during the first trimester should most likely be avoided as it can cause miscarriage.

Dr. Bruce Young, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at New York University School of Medicine had something to say about the sentiment.

"We know that for the average woman doing average exercise, there is no problem. Being fit is great because labor is demanding physically. It's work. That is why we call it labor."

It’s recommended that those used to extreme exercise cut back if/when trying to conceive, as it can affect ovulation.

If you want a good reason to exercise (in moderation), there's also evidence that by doing so, you might prevent excess weight in babies at birth. Keeping fit also doesn't prolong labor (yay!) or contribute to further complications at birth (double yay!).

One point the report isn’t clear on is whether or not exercise reduces the risk of tears or trauma during delivery — so, as with everything else, proceed with caution.

Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, Director os the Division os Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, advises 30 to 90 minute sessions, three to five times a week for pregnant women, though that should be shortened in the later months of pregnancy because the heart is working a lot harder to keep up and for obvious reasons!

"Pregnant women worry about doing exercise, but they should not. For more than 99 percent of pregnant women, exercise is not harmful at all but indeed beneficial, with evidence for shorter labors, more vaginal deliveries, fewer cesareans, less gestational diabetes and less pre-eclampsia."

So apparently, if you want to work out, do so with caution and use common sense.

Your physician should be your greatest ally. Your doctor will tell you what your body can probably handle while pregnant — and if it seems like to much, don’t do it.

The report is featured in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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