Medical Minute: Exercise Helps Pregnancies

Many women become less active when they become pregnant, sometimes over fear that exercise could induce premature labor, but a new study shows exercise during pregnancy may do just the opposite.
Kristin loves to exercise, but she slowed down during her first pregnancy.

“So, I gained 50 pounds, and you know, you have the kid, and the kid only weighs seven pounds and you’re like, ‘Oh, okay, there’s all this weight I have to lose,” she says.

Now, 26 weeks into her second pregnancy, Kristin maintains a regular exercise program, walking two miles at least three days a week.

“And it’s just been so much easier. The whole thing has been easier. I’ve felt bet felt better. I haven’t gained as much weight, so when I have the baby, it wont’ be as difficult. won’t be as difficult.”

A new study shows Kristin is also more likely to carry her baby to term. Researchers studied women who exercised well into their pregnancy.

“And in fact women who were able to do this activity in the second trimester of pregnancy, actually had a somewhat lower risk of pre-term birth,” says Dr. Kelly Evenson.

The study showed twenty-two percent of the women exercised regularly before pregnancy, but that dropped to eight percent in the second trimester. Researchers say there’s no need to cut back.

“If she’s been doing it before pregnancy, and she doesn’t have any medical or obstetric complications, then it should be fine for her to continue. My general theory is that if you do things that are stress relievers and are healthy for you, if you eat healthy, if you take vitamins and you exercise, you’re going to be able to carry to term more effectively.”

For more information, contact:

The Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study
www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/pin/

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