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Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

January 8th, 2015 | By: Dr. Alan Greene
For most moms-to-be, working out has many health benefits. Here’s a look at the latest research on how exercise can improve your pregnancy.

In This Article

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

It may be tempting to take a nine-month sabbatical from the Stairmaster when you’re pregnant, but exercise during pregnancy has many important health benefits: it decreases the risk of urinary incontinence and can help reduce some of the common discomforts of pregnancy, including backache, swelling and constipation.

A regular exercise program can also help ward off the baby blues and postpartum depression, while providing you with the endurance strength needed to help ease labor and delivery, as well as boosting the speed of your postnatal recovery. Here’s a look at some of the most recent research on the health benefits of prenatal exercise:

Exercise & Gestational Diabetes

One in eight women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, increasing the health risks for both mom and baby. Researchers at the University of Southern California School of Medicine studied a group of women who had developed gestational diabetes and needed insulin.

Half of the women in the study received the recommended insulin, the other half hired personal trainers. The trainers supervised the women while they did basic 20-minute rides on an exercise bike–and discovered that moderate aerobic exercise was equally effective to taking insulin when it came to controlling gestational diabetes.

Research shows that exercise helps keep blood sugar levels in check and exercising before you get pregnant may even help prevent gestational diabetes from occurring in the first place.