Deploy Folding Table of contents
- Debunking the Myth of Rest: Benefits of Staying Active During Pregnancy
- Reconsidering the ‘No Exercise’ Rule: Risks of Overlooking Benefits
- Women’s Health: The Case for Exercise During Pregnancy
- Reframing the Traditional Advice: Overcoming the Fear of Exercise in Pregnancy
- Empowering Expectant Mums: A Call to Reject Old-Fashioned Thinking
The idea of ‘rest’ has long been associated with pregnancy, with many traditional parenting guidelines emphasizing the need for pregnant women to stay in bed and avoid any form of physical activity. However, challenging these preconceptions, recent research has shown that pregnant women can and should stay active, to best ensure their health and the health of their baby.
Debunking the Myth of Rest: Benefits of Staying Active During Pregnancy
Research has revealed a variety of benefits associated with exercise during pregnancy, such as reducing pregnancy-related back pain, improving sleep and preventing gestational diabetes. In addition, staying active during pregnancy has been shown to increase the likelihood of having a successful vaginal delivery and reduce the risk of cesarean delivery.
Furthermore, the positive impact of exercise during pregnancy has been noted to extend beyond the physical realm. Studies have demonstrated that staying active can lead to a more positive body image which can in turn lead to fewer psychological difficulties, such as depression and anxiety.
Reconsidering the ‘No Exercise’ Rule: Risks of Overlooking Benefits
In spite of the demonstrated benefits of physical activity during pregnancy, many women remain unaware of the fact that exercising can be a key element of a healthy pregnancy. Having long been instructed to take it easy during pregnancy, many women remain hesitant to engage in physical activity for fear of harming their unborn baby.
However, the risks associated with inactivity carry greater potential for harm. For instance, while exercise can strengthen the muscles which support the uterus, inactivity can lead to weak muscles, which in turn can increase the risk of pregnancy-related complications, such as preterm labor.
Women’s Health: The Case for Exercise During Pregnancy
Given the potential benefits of exercise, many healthcare professionals are now actively encouraging pregnant women to stay active throughout their pregnancy. In particular, it is recommended that pregnant women engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
However, it is important to note that individual women’s needs may vary. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to consult with their doctor or midwife to come up with a suitable exercise plan that takes into account each woman’s unique medical history, lifestyle, and fitness level.
Reframing the Traditional Advice: Overcoming the Fear of Exercise in Pregnancy
Despite the growing consensus among healthcare professionals on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, many women continue to feel uneasy about the idea of staying active while pregnant.
When faced with this apprehension, it can help to reframe the traditional advice. Rather than ‘resting’, it may be more helpful to think in terms of staying active and engaging in activities that are both enjoyable and safe. Furthermore, it is important to note that not all exercise needs to be strenuous; even something as simple as going for a walk can do wonders for a pregnant woman’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Empowering Expectant Mums: A Call to Reject Old-Fashioned Thinking
Considering the potential advantages of exercise, it is time to challenge traditional thinking and empower pregnant women to take charge of their health. Rather than clinging to outdated beliefs, it is important to move away from the idea of ‘rest’ and instead focus on staying active throughout the course of their pregnancy. In doing so, pregnant women can better ensure their health and the health of their baby.
This article has sought to challenge the traditional idea of ‘rest’ during pregnancy, and instead encourages pregnant women to stay active. With research demonstrating the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy, it is important to empower expectant mums to reject old-fashioned thinking and take charge of their own health.
- Gunn, A.J. (2016). Exercise in Pregnancy. Academic Medicine, 91(4), 484-488.
- Regular physical activity during pregnancy for maternal and infant health and fitness. (2018). The Cochrane Library.
- Büllesfeld, L. (2012). Exercise During Pregnancy: Its Effect on Mother and Fetus. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 72(02), 81-89.
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