June 21, 2018
Clinical Contributors to this Story
By Brianna McCabe
Pregnancy is a beautiful and tender journey for most women, but it can also be one filled with anxiety by conflicting advice from relatives, friends, and health care professionals. With a commitment to the health of yourself and your baby, it can feel like a constant tug-of-war battle in trying to differentiate helpful from potentially harmful opinions.
Angela Jones, M.D., a board certified physician at Hackensack Meridian Health Medical Group Healthy Woman OB/GYN, shares insights on a topic of concern that she addresses quite often with her patients: the health and safety of exercising during pregnancy. Despite some arguments and myths against the lifestyle, Dr. Jones believes that physical activity is not only safe, but it is bursting with benefits.
With more than 13 years of OB/GYN experience, Dr. Jones encourages exercise for the following reasons:
1. Boosts energy: “As exhausting as pregnancy can be, who couldn’t use a little pick me-up-on a daily basis?” she comments. “In case you aren’t one who gets that natural pregnant glow, the endorphins and feel-good hormones released during the course of a good workout will not only have you looking better, but also feeling better.”
2. Keeps weight gain at bay: Exercise will help limit the amount of weight a woman gains during the course of a pregnancy. Additionally, the more excess weight a woman gains, the higher the risk becomes for adversely impacting labor, developing hypertensive disorders and gestational diabetes, and undergoing a C-section.
3. Eases labors: Although expectant moms are oftentimes nervous of the labor experience, exercise can give women confidence to deliver. Dr. Jones shares, “If you are physically fit, you will more than likely experience less pain during labor and perhaps even experience a shorter labor. Labor means work. A fit body is more capable of doing just that.”
4. Decreases the risk of postpartum depression: “Postpartum depression is a very real phenomenon,” she says. “Becoming a new mom can be stressful and overwhelming to say the least. Exercise helps decrease the risks of developing this, while at the same time helping to ensure better quality sleep: something that every new mom needs.”
5. Jumpstarts a healthy lifestyle: Women are more likely to continue the routine of exercising post-delivery if they get into the habit while pregnant. Physical activity helps women more quickly return to pre-pregnancy weight and also decreases the risk of chronic medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
When exercising during these nine months, Dr. Jones advises women to drink plenty of fluids and avoid workouts with an increased risk of falling. “As always, if you have any questions or aren’t quite sure what is safe, check with your OB/GYN,” she adds.
Healthy Woman OB/GYN has a main office in Freehold with secondary locations in Colts Neck and Jackson. To learn more about the addresses, hours, and services, please call 732-431-1616 or visit HealthyWomanUSA.com.