Working out during pregnancy is safe, healthy, and beneficial for all expectant mothers including obese women. But, according to a new study that followed 82 overweight and obese women, prenatal exercise doesn't do much to prevent pregnancy weight gain. If that sounds surprising and unbelievable, read on to find out more.
Half the women who participated were given standard advice on prenatal care, Reuters reported. If that's anything like the prenatal care that I and many of my friends received, it might include a lecture on how much weight to gain or what not to do, and perhaps something about taking prenatal vitamin supplements.
Let's face it, OBGYNs don't behave like personal trainers, and don't have much to say about exercising, even during pregnancy. The other half of the women were asked to attend weekly exercise classes. In addition, they were counseled on weight gain and healthy nutrition more specifically. There is no doubt that the second group received much more constructive advice on how to stay healthy during pregnancy. The question is, did that have an impact?
Surprisingly (to me, at least!) half of the pregnant women in both groups gained more than the recommended amount of weight and both groups were in their second trimester of pregnancy. The recommended amount of pregnancy weight gain, by the way, is 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women and 11 to 20 for expectant mothers who are obese. The conclusion?
Researchers who worked on the study told Reuters that overweight and obese women should engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. But, for a better effect, weight loss should take place before women start trying to conceive. On an interesting note, most of the study participants delivered by c-section, and fetal health was similar in the exercise and non-exercise groups.