Regular physical activity during the year before pregnancy and at least during the first half of pregnancy has been associated with both healthier babies and moms according to a study published in the June 2003 issue of Hypertension. Walking and other moderate physical activity begun during pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication where mom’s blood pressure rises and blood flow to the baby decreases.
The only effective treatment for preeclampsia is delivering the baby, so it results in many premature babies.
In this study, the risk of developing preeclampsia was further reduced if the exercise was begun before pregnancy. In the study, the pace of walking or other activity was more important than the distance covered. The best results were seen with those who walked at least 3 miles per hour. Among those who didn’t intentionally exercise, those who climbed 1 to 4 flights of stairs each day still had a lower risk than those who didn’t.
Taking the time to exercise may seem difficult in today’s busy world. Nevertheless, our bodies and our babies will demand our time one way or the other. It is far more enjoyable to spend this time on pleasant walks now than on visits to the doctor later.