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Can Baby Boom Mums Get The Exercise Habit?

     More than 70% of women in the UK own up to falling well below the recommended '30 minutes a day' minimum guideline for exercise. According to the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation only one in five women and one in ten girls do enough exercise to stay fit, healthy and happy.

Research has shown that pregnant women are even less motivated to stay active, with many women apparently unsure about what exercise is safe and erring on the side of caution.

But as Britain experiences the biggest baby boom in forty years, with more than 800,000 babies born last year, encouraging women to recognise the benefits of exercise during pregnancy is even more important.

'Women who incorporate exercise as an integral part of everyday life can improve their own health and that of their families. Active mums are more likely to raise active kids,' says Senior Midwifery Lecturer Jenny Hassall who is conducting research into decisions around exercise in pregnancy.

Women who exercise are better prepared for labour and make a speedier recovery afterwards which is not just good for them - it's good for baby too. The NHS Change4Life campaign states: 'being active during pregnancy means you're likely to maintain a healthier weight and be able to cope better with the physical demands of pregnancy and labour. It also reduces the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects and diabetes.'

Other pregnancy niggles, such as heartburn; backache and bloating are all improved by regular exercise. Feel good endorphins released during exercise are beneficial in lifting mood, improving sleep and helping to combat the anxiety and depression that plagues far too many pregnancies. The volume of blood circulating around a pregnant woman's body increases by as much as 50% and maintaining a good level of fitness improves circulation, lessening the risk of varicose veins and pumping oxygen to the unborn baby.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends that 'healthy pregnant women should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all days of the week', aiming for at least 150 minutes weekly, a view also upheld by the American College of Sports Medicine. Both bodies agree that physical activity during an uncomplicated pregnancy should be actively recommended for a host of benefits for both mother and baby.

For women who find their developing baby makes exercise uncomfortable a new range of clothes has been developed to provide active support for the growing bump to encourage women to maintain a healthy exercise routine. Maternity fitness wear specialists have recently introduced a range of clothes to support women who choose to stay active during pregnancy with tops and leggings specifically designed to support the bump and make exercise more comfortable.

The founders say, 'We are passionate about encouraging women to exercise throughout their pregnancy. There are so many benefits to mother and baby.'


BHF (2012) British Heart Foundation Physical Activity Statistics 2012. Focus on physical activity in the UK

RCOG (2006) Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Exercise in pregnancy (RCOG Statement 4)

ACOG (2002 reaffirmed 2009)American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Exercise during Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period

Article Source:

Alexandra McCabe is a founder of FittaMamma, the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with workout videos, recipes and prenatal yoga tips. Here you can find easy to use guides for fit pregnancy while managing prenatal weight gain

Posted on 2013-10-21, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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