Can Staying In Shape During Pregnancy Help Prevent Birth Defects?
For many expectant mothers, the prospect of starting a family and having a baby can be exciting and nerve-wracking. Adding a little bundle of joy to your life can come with uncertainties, especially if this is your first child or you happen to be of advanced maternal age. Anxiety can be even greater for those with a known history of genetic defects in their family.
Fortunately, the prevention of genetic or chromosomal congenital disabilities has advanced enormously in recent years. While some variables may be inevitable – such as having an elevated genetic risk or certain pre-existing conditions – you still have quite a bit of control over the outcome of ‘s healthyour unborn baby’s health. And one such way you can help mitigate this risk is by staying physically fit throughout your pregnancy.
The Health Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can help reduce your risk of health complications in your everyday life, but it can also help you ensure a healthy pregnancy. The health benefits of exercise are well-known and well-documented, and most health professionals strongly advise that pregnant women do it regularly. The health benefits of exercise are well-known and well-documented, and most health professionals strongly advise that pregnant women do it regularly. Research indicates that engaging in routine physical fitness can help impart numerous benefits to yourself and your unborn child, such as a lower likelihood of:
- Developing gestational diabetes
- Requiring a caesarian section
- Having preeclampsia complications
- Encountering lower back pain
- Macrosomia in your baby
- Facing urinary incontinence
In addition to helping to ward off these complications, exercise can also help reduce the risk of certain genetic defects in the fetus. For instance, high maternal birth weight is correlated with altered gene expression, possibly leading to certain types of cancers or systemic inflammation in your baby. Macrosomia, or overdevelopment of the fetus, has also been linked to genetic anomalies such as Pallister-Killian mosaic syndrome, Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome, and Sotos syndrome.
If you suspect that you may be at an elevated risk of developing any of these conditions, or if you or your partner currently have pre-existing genetic concerns, it’s essential to be proactive about diagnosing and preventing these disorders early on. Deciding to undergo genetic testing during pregnancy can give you better insights into the chances of your baby struggling with any of these conditions later in life. Furthermore, utilizing the skills of a trusted genetic counselor can help you navigate the intricacies of any questions you may encounter following screening.
The Best Types of Exercise
Regarding exercise and pregnancy, it’s important to remember that not all types of activity are the same. While it’s certainly ambitious to want to work out rigorously during these nine months, it’s better to set more modest fitness goals. Health experts recommend focusing on moderate exercise and abstaining from anything that may lead to overheating or physical harm, such as impact sports.
Good options for less strenuous types of exercise include activities such as walking, yoga, and even swimming. Rest hydrated during your practice, and stretch to cool down afterward.
Staying Healthy For Life
Mothers want to ensure they’re giving their babies the best start. By staying on top of all prenatal appointments, ensuring you eat a nutritious and balanced diet, and taking multivitamins, you can jumpstart healthy habits for your unborn baby. It’s also essential to make regular exercise a part of your lifestyle. Even a half hour per day, three or four days a week, could be enough to help prevent many serious health complications.