Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.
Physical Activity During Pregnancy
Which of the following is not an actual benefit of exercise during pregnancy?
- Prevention of too much weight gain
- An increase in strength and stamina
- Stress relief
- Better sleep
- An increase in mood and energy levels
So, which one is not a benefit of physical activity during pregnancy? Well, it was sort of a trick question. All of them are benefits!
You may think that just because someone is pregnant they should just become a couch potato. After all, they are caring for two, eating for two, walking for two and the list goes on. But exercise is just as healthy and important of a consideration during prenatal care as diet is!
Let's try another question. Which of the following has a higher chance of occurring in pregnant women who don't exercise compared to those that do?
- Gestational diabetes
- Postpartum depression
- High blood pressure
- Blood clots
Another trick question. The answer is, again, all of them have a higher chance of occurring in women who don't exercise during pregnancy.
Pregnant women who don't move around much, especially if they are on long trips, like on an airplane, have an increased risk of developing dangerous blood clots.
Exercise helps to lessen the symptoms of postpartum, or after giving birth, depression, and lower the chance of developing gestational diabetes, where gestation means pregnancy, and gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes (high blood sugar) that may develop in previously non-diabetic pregnant women.
There are many dangers associated with gestational diabetes, including the development of type 2 diabetes later in life for the mother, as well as low blood sugar and larger than normal birth sizes in babies.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
So, the benefits of exercise during the prenatal period are pretty clear.
But how much exercise should healthy pregnant women get then? Do you think it's:
- No more than 15 minutes of walking per day
- At least 3 hours of heavy weight lifting per day
- No more than 8 hours a month of walking
- At the very least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week
The right answer is at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. This means things like brisk walking are just fine, and the risks on the mother or baby from such activity are very low. Other types of exercise can include walking, riding a stationary bike, or even swimming.
It's best to spread this exercise time throughout the week, include most, if not all, days of the week, and do it for no less than ten minutes at a time.
Of course, there have to be some caveats, as with everything in life. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and lung problems, or you haven't exercised in a long time, you'll definitely want to consult with a doctor as to your specific exercise needs during pregnancy.
Mental and Emotional Health
Exercise also improves mental health. But there are other ways women can bolster mood during pregnancy if the need arises.
Good emotional health is a state of well-being where a person has a positive outlook, good self-esteem and the ability to interact well with others. It often ties in with good mental health, a combination of psychological, social, and emotional well-being.
It is completely normal, within reason, for pregnant women to have emotional and mental ups and downs. I mean, pregnancy is a life-altering event, and there is a lot to be proud of and worry over. The chemical changes in the body during pregnancy play their part as well, not to mention the physical aspect involving morning sickness!
However, too much stress and too much anxiety can lead to a bad mood and an imbalance of hormones in a pregnant woman's body that may have a detrimental effect on her and her child. In serious cases, a ton of stress has been suspected in miscarriages in the past.
Therefore, here are some important tips to keep in mind for bettering mental and emotional well-being as part of an overall good prenatal care routine:
- Know when to say no to something and delegate or ask for help in scenarios where you feel overwhelmed.
- Try relaxation techniques, like yoga or meditation.
- Join a support group. It never hurts to talk it over with people experiencing the same things or those that have been through it before.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Get enough sleep. This means maybe going to bed a bit early and recording that late night season premier for later viewing.
- Seek the help of a therapist. Upwards of 20% of women will have more serious anxiety or mood disorders during pregnancy, like major depression. Such things must be addressed with a professional counselor and doctor working together to ensure the best care for you and your unborn child.
There you have it! Now you know why things like physical activity are great during pregnancy and how to go about seeking inner peace.
Physical activity can help prevent too much weight gain, lessen the symptoms of postpartum, or after giving birth, depression, and lower the chances of developing gestational diabetes, where gestation means pregnancy and gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes (high blood sugar) that may develop in previously non-diabetic pregnant women.
Healthy pregnant women should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week. This means things like brisk walking, cycling on a stationary bike and swimming.
Good emotional and mental health can definitely be helped along by proper exercise, as you know. Emotional health is a state of well-being where a person has a positive outlook, good self-esteem and the ability to interact well with others, and mental health, a combination of psychological, social and emotional well-being.
Other than exercise, one can improve their mental and emotional health during pregnancy by:
- Knowing when to say no to something
- Trying out yoga or meditation, or both at the same time
- Joining a support group to get advice
- Eating healthy
- Getting good sleep
- Seeking the help of a therapist
When you finish this video, you should have the ability to:
- Describe the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy
- Explain the risks of no exercise during pregnancy
- State how much exercise is reccomended during pregnancy
- Recall how mental and emotional health play a role in a healthy pregnancy
- Define emotional health and mental health and how poor mental health can affect the pregnancy
- Describe how physical, mental and emotional health can be improved
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