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  • Writer's picturedrschwank

Staying active all the way through pregnancy: diary of a long distance runner

As a long distance runner, getting pregnant wasn’t an easy encounter. I’ve also given it a lot of thought about the amount of running I’d be able to do. Wether to be breathless, after only a short distance, feeling discomfort, due to stretched ligaments, the size of the belly, the weight gain, and general fitness.

Fact is, none of the concerns have occurred not even marginally!! As a researcher in reproductive health, I’ve spent a lot of time understanding the impact of stress, anxiety, and depression on the mother-to-be and her baby. Here: exercise is THE cure. It’s good for body and mind. Exercise reduces stress in the body, that’s often accumulated in women with high anxiety and depression.

We all focus on what to eat and not to eat, but put way too little emphasis on how to reduce stress in pregnant women. Chronic stress, research has found by colleagues of mine from Columbia university, causes epigenetic changes in the placenta. Allowing cortisol, the stress hormone, to pass in higher percentage straight to the foetus. Causing its brain to mature faster, resulting in a more vigilant, cranky baby. A stressed dyad is the often seen outcome and the viscid circle just continues.

Exercising can so “easily” counter-balance the stress levels and improve self-esteem and body awareness.

If you don’t like or don’t feel you can run, go on a walk, hike, bike ride, swim or practice yoga.

GET MOVING, that’s key!




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