Richman goes on to explain another reason to keep moving, "Fit moms produce fit babies. Studies have shown that babies born to active mothers are sometimes smaller, but their rates of obesity and diabetes later in life decreases." Dr. Spetalnick agrees that healthier moms create healthier babies. Babies born to fit mamas are sometimes leaner, which means less chance of an unplanned Cesarean to accommodate a large baby.
Check with Your Doctor
You've got to feel a little sorry for obstetricians and their staff, because pregnant women are advised to seek the advice of their doctors before doing absolutely anything, from eating tuna fish sandwiches to highlighting their hair. And exercise is no exception.
If you're already active before pregnancy, you'll most likely get the green light from your doctor to go keep going. If you're a former couch potato who'd like to look less like an actual potato and more like a hip, svelte mama, check with your OB before beginning a new exercise regime. However, unless you suffer from, "fairly obvious and commonsense reasons like hypertension, abnormal placement of the placenta (like placenta previa), or preterm labor ... a reasonable exercise program in a normal uncomplicated pregnancy would almost never be rejected," says Dr. Spetalnick. Persistent bleeding and incompetent cervix are also good reasons to take it easy and cheer from the sidelines, so call your healthcare provider if you suspect a gym membership wouldn't be in your best interest.
Although expectant moms have been lacing up their sneakers for a few years, many mistakenly believe that their options are limited to swimming and yoga. Not so! Aerobics, running, indoor cycling, moderate weight lifting, hiking, dancing, and Pilates are all wonderful options to get your circulation going. Richman says, "Any exercise is beneficial. If a mom was fit before becoming pregnant, she can pretty much keep up her routine with minor modifications." Less active moms can take up walking and continue their outdoor jaunts once the baby arrives. Swimming is popular because the feeling of weightlessness is a welcome relief to sore backs and joints. And yoga is a prenatal favorite because the stretching feels great and the deep breathing helps reduce stress.