Exercise during pregnancy keeps babies at a healthy weight

There are many pregnancy complications that you have no control over. Even if you eat the right foods, take your prenatal vitamins and follow all of your doctor's advice, your baby could still be born with a number of mental or physical defects. This is why it's so important for you to do everything you can to reduce your risk of preventable complications.

For example, if you drink alcohol during your pregnancy, your baby could be born with a number of issues, so you should avoid alcohol at all costs. While avoiding alcohol and illegal drugs are things that you probably already knew would reduce the risk of having pregnancy complications, you may not know that exercising could also lower your chances of experiencing problems. Recently, researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid found that moderate exercise during pregnancy could reduce the risk of having a baby who weighs more than 4 kilograms, which is almost 9 pounds. This is important, since larger babies increase the risk of needing a cesarean section, which can come with its own complications.

Exercise is key
The researchers spoke to more than 500 pregnant women who admitted that they lived a mostly sedentary lifestyle. Most of the women exercised for less than 20 minutes three days a week. The scientists took some of the women and had them engage in 55 minutes of moderate exercise three days a week. The women did this from weeks 10 to 12 and weeks 38 to 39 of pregnancy. 

The researchers discovered that while exercising did not seem to reduce the women's risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, it did significantly lower their chances of having a larger baby and needing a C-section than those who did not work out. 

Dangers of a C-section
While a C-section is sometimes necessary during pregnancy, if you choose to have this procedure when you could deliver vaginally, you should know that there are some potential complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, babies born through C-section have an increased risk of experiencing breathing problems. Furthermore, you may experience increased bleeding, blood clots, wound infections and problems during future pregnancies. 

All of this should encourage you to try and avoid having to have an emergency C-section, and these findings suggest that you should consider exercising in order to do so. 

Working out during pregnancy
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exercising for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days while pregnant is beneficial for both you and fetal development. The organization explained that exercise can help reduce the risk of experiencing backaches and swelling as well as improve your mood and posture, increase your energy, and help you sleep better at night during pregnancy. 

There are many different forms of exercise that are safe for you to do during pregnancy. For example, water aerobics are a safe way to work out, and swimming exercises a number of different muscles. Furthermore, cycling can be a good idea, particularly on a stationary bike so you reduce your risk of falling on the road. Also, if you're a runner, you can continue your routine as long as your doctor says that it's safe. You should always talk to your doctor about what type of exercise is right for you, and whether you're healthy enough for physical activity, since working out may not be right for all women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies. 

Did you exercise during your pregnancy? What types of workouts did you find were best for you? Leave your advice here!