By Misti Crane, The Columbus Dispatch
The baby bump shouldn’t be an excuse to skip physical activity and become a fixture on the couch, health experts say.
And fewer than one in four pregnant women are exercising as much as they should be, according to a study in the journal Preventive Medicine.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women in their first trimester were more likely to meet the physical-activity recommendations than those in later stages of pregnancy. White women with health insurance were more likely to meet the guidelines than others.
Walking was the most common leisure-time physical activity reported. Exercise can promote healthy weight and mental health during pregnancy and help prevent gestational diabetes.
Guidelines set by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2002 recommend that healthy pregnant women get 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily, or on most days. Similar guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2008 suggest pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week.