Exercising during pregnancy can be a confusing subject, with a wealth of conflicting advice doing the rounds. For every runner who goes into labour after running a marathon, or weightlifter who takes part in a CrossFit inspired maternity shoot, there’s another woman who’s convinced exercise will harm the baby.
It doesn’t help that, for many years, the advice given to pregnant women erred on the side of the conservative. Historically, women were instructed to get as much rest as possible, and to refrain from doing anything too athletic. Doctors were concerned that exercise might increase the risk of preterm delivery, or cause stress to the growing fetus.
These days, however, there’s a wealth of evidence pointing to the benefits of keeping active. According to a 2017 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the majority of pregnant women are actually not exercising enough. Aside from the effects on physical fitness, this can contribute to extra weight gain, and may lead to worse outcomes for the mother and child.
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