More reasons to exercise while pregnant

Nearly all pregnant women can—and should—exercise, because staying active offers a host of benefits to both mother and child. New research out of Canada adds two more.

A study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that pregnant women who exercise can significantly lower their risk of undergoing Caesarean sections and giving birth to large babies. Researchers at the University of Alberta conducted a meta-analysis of 28 randomized control studies comprising 5,322 women. Their goal: to examine the influence of maternal exercise on baby outcomes.

“We found that women who exercised had a 31 percent reduction in the risk of having a large baby without changing the risk of having a small baby or an earlier baby,” said lead researcher Margie Davenport, an assistant professor in the faculty of physical education and recreation. “Further, the risk of having a Caesarean section was reduced by 20 percent.

This finding is significant because big babies tend to be heavier as children and adults. Other studies have found that prenatal exercise may help prevent childhood obesity by “normalizing” birth weight—that is, reducing the risk of having a large baby at birth.

Be sure to ask your doctor what types of exercise are right for you, and then get moving during your pregnancy!

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