According to a report by HealthDay news on Friday, a new study shows most pregnant women don't get enough physical activity through the day to help prevent excess weight gain.
Healthy weight gain in pregnancy is determined by how many babies you're carrying and your weight (specifically your BMI) when you become pregnant. The Mayo Clinic gives some good guidelines for pregnancy weight gain for carrying one child:
- Underweight at pregnancy (BMI less than 18.5) - 28 to 40 pounds
- Normal weight (BMI 18.5 to 24.9) - 25-35 pounds
- Overweight (BMI 25-29.9) - 15-25 pounds
- Obese (BMI of 30 or more) - 11-20 pounds
If a woman gains too much weight during pregnancy, it increases her risk for complications such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine) and for obesity after delivery, and also ups the baby's risk for childhood obesity.
Many pregnant women have exercise programs, but they tend to focus on physical-activity guidelines of 30 minutes a day. The new research however, found that staying active throughout the day is more beneficial in preventing excess weight gain.
For example, a woman who didn't have a specific workout session but was active all day -- such as a waitress or a mother who has young children and is always on the move -- would get more exercise and burn more calories overall than a woman who had an exercise session but was otherwise inactive during the day.
The findings show that it's important for pregnant women to increase their overall daily levels of activity.
However, it's important to note that a healthy diet, with an added 300 calories a day (per fetus) is also needed to maintain a healthy weight and pregnancy.
There are plenty of easy, no-sweat exercises you can find on the internet safe for all trimesters of pregnancy. Here are some great places to start:
BabyCenter - The best exercises for pregnancy
Parenting.com - The No-Sweat Pregnancy Workout
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