Pregnancy and exercise

Before I got pregnant, I worked out frequently, and enjoyed—in the literal sense of delight—the fit lifestyle. So I assumed in the early stages of my pregnancy, that I'd continue to work out the entire time, even with modifications as needed, and that it would even be fun.

Well, pregnancy was a good time to learn a lesson that all parents know quite well: that the best-laid plans often disintegrate. About halfway through my twin pregnancy, I found myself unable to work out, and my doctors even discouraged me from doing prenatal yoga given my risk categories and excessive fluid, or polyhydramnios. In my third trimester, I was barely able to walk, let alone work out.

So I'm no stranger to the limitations pregnancy puts on physical fitness—the struggle is real, as they say. But a new study out now suggests even more than ever that remaining active in pregnancy is important: Women who exercise while they're expecting are dramatically less likely to develop gestational diabetes, and also likely to gain less weight than those who don't do any.

In the study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, moderate exercise pointed to a reduction by as much as 30 percent in the gestational diabetes risk. And the reduction was even more if women continued to get exercise throughout their entire pregnancies.

Pregnant women who were active were also typically one kilogram, or about 2.2 pounds, lighter than those who weren't.

The study, led by Spanish authors, resulted from an analysis of 13 previous studies involving nearly 3,000 women who began to exercise after becoming pregnant.

Could a study like this have changed how active I was during my pregnancy? Maybe not, given my limitations. But maybe it can inspire expecting mamas who are capable of exercise to see the importance of making the effort—as long as it's safe—even when it doesn't feel easy.

Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to keep up with the latest pregnancy news.

Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.