Fact or Fiction – Testing Your Prenatal Exercise Knowledge!

What do you think – Fact or Fiction?  Here are ten statements for you to evaluate.  Check your answers at the bottom.  How did you do?

Exercising (at a moderate to high intensity) regularly during your pregnancy:

  1. Increases your risk of miscarriage
  2. Prevents and treats gestational diabetes
  3. Gives you an additional 10% volume of blood
  4. Increases your risk of breech position
  5. Overheats the fetus in the womb
  6. Is associated with premature birth
  7. Reduces your chance of having a C-section
  8. Makes it more likely for your child to be born underweight
  9. Increases your risk of injury
  10. Shortens the length of time it takes to birth your baby

*********************************************************************************

Answers:

  1. Fiction – Studies have shown that miscarriage chances are about the same for pregnant women who exercise regularly as those who don’t.
  2. Fact – Regular exercise helps the muscles utilize excess blood sugar as fuel, which lowers its need for insulin.  It helps prevent and treat gestational diabetes!
  3. Fact – Pregnancy increases your blood volume by about 40-45%, and exercise increases your blood volume another 10%; this surplus ensures that there is plenty of blood  for mama and growing baby.
  4. Fiction – Breech positions occur at the same rate for expecting moms who exercise regularly (and even extensively) as those who don’t.
  5. Fiction – The bodies of pregnant women are thermodynamically superior; with more blood, more oxygen, and more surface area (thanks, growing belly!), the body is able to rid itself of heat more efficiently, therefore protecting the baby from overheating.  Yey, sweating!
  6. Fiction – Exercise during pregnancy has not been found to cause premature birth, but it has been found to decrease the length of pregnancy by 5-7 days.  This means it’s more likely to have the baby early, but to term.  I could live with that.
  7. Fact – That’s right.  Continuous exercise throughout pregnancy lowers your risk of having a cesarean.  It also lowers your risk of needing pain relief, inductions, fetal intervention, and forceps delivery.  That’s why exercise is so important for women who want to have natural births.
  8. Fiction – While it’s true that babies born to exercising moms tend to weight less and be leaner, they have not been found to be underweight (less than 5lbs, 8 ounces).  They are typically in a lower weight percentile, have a smaller abdominal circumference, and have less body fat.  It’s important to note that these babies match in size comparison to babies of non-exercising moms in length and head circumference.
  9. Mostly Fiction, but sometimes Fact – Most women do not report and increase in injuries from exercising during pregnancy, however, it is important to modify exercises when necessary, to stay away from dangerous recreational activities (such as car racing, sky diving, etc), and to stick to moves that you know.  
  10. Fact – This is my favorite fact of all.  Studies have shown that women who exercise throughout and up to their delivery date have shorter labors!
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