Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

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Research suggests exercise during pregnancy can be good for the developing baby as well as for the mother

A study conducted by a team from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences suggests that exercise is linked to better foetal heart health and nervous system development.

This small scale research compared women who took moderate exercise with pregnant women who did not exercise regularly.

Dr Linda May, who led the study, said: “Foetal breathing movement and the nervous system were more mature in babies exposed to exercise.”  She went on to say that further research was needed, both to look at more pregnancies and to evaluate the health of babies once they had been born.

Obstetrician Patrick O’Brien said that although exercise is good for pregnant women they should consult their midwives and doctors because excessive exercise during pregnancy could be dangerous for the unborn baby; particularly if a woman becomes too hot or lets their heart rate go over 130 beats per minute, but he went on to say that there was is no increased risk of miscarriage or premature labour linked to exercise.  He also advised that women exercise at a level that enables them to comfortably hold a conversation.

As a midwife I advise clients that walking and swimming are excellent forms of exercise as are yoga or pilates taught by an appropriate person.  I would not advise strenous new exercise during pregnancy, but have had clients who have continued with their training, for example running during pregnancy.

I have recently met Faye Cooke who is based in Bedfordshire and near to Milton Keynes and feel confident to recommend her services to clients for antenatal and postnatal exercise classes.