Of course, every pregnancy is different, and it's extremely important that you speak with your health care provider before exercising or changing your diet during pregnancy. Still, the authors of this new study said their findings suggest that healthy lifestyle habits may reduce pregnancy-related complications and keep mothers and babies healthier overall.
"Our findings are important because it is often thought that pregnant women shouldn't exercise because it may harm the baby," said study author Dr. Shakila Thangaratinam, of Queen Mary University of London, in a press release. "But we show that the babies are not affected by physical activity or dieting, and that there are additional benefits including a reduction in maternal weight gain, diabetes in pregnancy, and the risk of requiring a caesarean section."
This study looked at more than 12,500 women who were involved in 36 past studies. Women who maintained a healthy diet and exercised moderately gained around 1.5 fewer pounds during pregnancy than women who didn't diet and exercise. They were also 10 percent less likely to require a C-section and 24 percent less likely to develop gestational diabetes, this research found.
Always ask your health care provider before you make any diet or physical activity changes, especially during pregnancy.
This study was published in the journal The BMJ.
The National Institute for Health Research funded this study. Study authors disclosed ties to health organizations and medical companies.