New Pregnancy Exercise Research
Researchers from Johns Hopkins are finally looking into how much exercise is ok for a pregnant woman and her fetus.
Yes, there has been some research done in the past, noteably by Dr James Clapp (He wrote the book, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy), but it hasn't been enough to change the age-old exercise recommendations from our government agencies.
Plus, many women are frustrated because they are not given consistent recommendations from their health care providers - some doctors say it's ok to consider exercising as long as there are no complications, where others tell women to stop exercising (which is ridiculous if you ask me - exercise is the one thing that can keep a woman's spirts high and prevent her from gaining excessive weight).
Dr Andrew J Satin and colleagues are currently investigating endurance exercise and it's effects on mommies and their unborn babies.
60 women are being looked at, which include regular runners and sedentary individuals. Regular runners are allowed to run until their reach their peak capacity, but are asked to not linger there long. During the run, several measurements are taken which include placental blood flow and amniotic fluid levels. The fetuses are also examined by ultrasound before and after the treadmill work.
This information will be used to help women understand what effect exercise might be having on their babies and if it's really beneficial or not.
Right now, researchers agree that regular exercise while pregnant is beneficial for preventing gestational diabetes and hypertension, but the verdict is still out on how hard and how much.
The current recommendations (like those from ACSM) are still filled with notes of caution, which makes many women scared to do anything.
You can read more about this research (which does not have full data collection yet) here in this news report:
One quote I found facinating from this report was this:
"[During exercise] ...the fetuses are not "flipping and flopping". In fact, the entire uterus is moving with the exercise motion, buoying the fetus."
l remember when I was exercising quite hard during my pregnancy (I was doing box jumps at 7 months pregnant) and even my husband was saying that the baby was flopping around in me... guess he was wrong (I still kept doing them because I felt fine).
Future research at Johns Hopkins will focus on weight lifting - which I find very facinating.
In my experience, as many of you may have read in my previous blogs like here, here and here, I worked out like an animal during my pregnancies, doing a lot of kettlebell work, barbell work and intense Tabatas and intervals. I only ever pushed myself to a point where I still felt ok - never until I wanted to puke (yes, sometimes I felt dizzy, but I backed off when I got there).
I feel that my fit pregnancy was one of the major reasons that I didn't have back pain, water retention or any other major issues (or even minor issues) at all. In fact, I had a great delivery and currently have a very healthy baby.
I hope this research shows doctors and women that exercising to the point where YOU feel fine and where YOU feel good about what you're doing is not harmful to you or your baby. I think most women know what's good and what's not good - if you can't listen to your body and back off when it says enough is enough, then you might need someone to tell you that you're going too far. But, if you feel good and are not having any other issues (bleeding, pain), then go for it.