Should pregnant women exercise?

true or false?

Generally, women are advised to take on an exercise program during pregnancy so long as they are not at high risk of premature labor or certain chronic conditions, like high blood pressure or heart or lung disease. Walking, jogging, swimming and light weight lifting are some of the activities doctors typically encourage.

But Dr Daniel Roshan, an assistant professor at New York University Medical School and a maternal fetal medicine specialist, said pregnant women should be careful not to push their heart rates above 140 beats per minute or raise their body temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The goal is to avoid exercising to exhaustion.

Dr Roshan said that heavy weight lifting during pregnancy is generally discouraged because it could put pressure on the abdomen, uterus and cervix, which could increase the likelihood of premature labor. But he also pointed out that a woman who lifts regularly, uses good technique and is well conditioned might be an exception.

Dr Roshan said that pregnant women should exercise for their own health and the health of their babies. But long hours and strenuous activity could create complications.

He said that nurses, for example, who work 12-hour shifts while pregnant, spending most of their days on their feet, are more prone to delivering smaller babies than those who work eight-hour shifts.

“This is because the blood gets shifted from the womb and goes toward the arms and legs,” he said. “That’s another reason we say don’t do strenuous activity in pregnancy.”

But at the same time, staying moderately active and following a healthy diet low in sugar can help control blood sugar during pregnancy, reducing the likelihood of delivering a heavy baby, Dr Roshan said.

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