If you're pregnant and want to exercise in warm weather or take hot baths or short saunas, that's safe, according to new research.
Australian researchers said that doing so—within limits—should not raise your body temperature to a point that would put your baby at risk.
The findings come from an analysis of 12 studies that included 347 women at different stages of pregnancy. The women's body temperatures were recorded while they exercised, used a sauna or took a hot bath.
None of the women exceeded the recommended core body temperature limit of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit during these activities.
Based on those results, the researchers concluded that pregnant women can safely do up to 35 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise (at 80 percent to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate) at air temperatures of up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of 45 percent.
No matter their pregnancy stage, women can also safely do aqua-aerobic exercise in water temperatures ranging from 83.8 degrees to 92.1 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 45 minutes, the study found. They also can sit in hot baths (104 degrees Fahrenheit) or hot/dry saunas (158 degrees Fahrenheit, and 15 percent relative humidity) for up to 20 minutes, the researchers said.
The study, by Ollie Jay, an associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of Sydney, and colleagues was published online March 1 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Current guidelines advise pregnant women to avoid heat stress because of concerns about possible risks if their body temperature rises too high, the study authors noted in a journal news release.
However, the researchers said the guidelines do not clearly define heat limits and thus may discourage exercise that could benefit both mother and child.
Jay and colleagues added that there's some evidence that the body's ability to regulate its core temperature is enhanced during pregnancy.
Still, the study authors said that further study on the issue is needed.
Babies born to women who suffered from Vitamin D deficiency during their pregnancy are more likely to develop obesity in childhood as well as in adulthood, a study has found.
Children born to mothers with very low Vitamin D levels during their first trimester are likely to have bigger waists or be about half an inch plumper on average by age six.
These kids also had 2% more body fat, than peers whose mothers had enough Vitamin D in early pregnancy.
About 95% of the Vitamin D produced in your body comes from sunshine. The remaining 5% is derived from eggs, fatty fish, fish liver oil and fortified foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cereal.
“These increases may not seem like much, but we’re not talking about older adults who have about 30% body fat,” said Vaia Lida Chatzi, associate professor at the University of Southern California in the US.
“Even a half-inch increase in waist circumference is a big deal, especially if you project this fat surplus across their lifespan,” Chatzi added.
Deficiency in Vitamin D also known as the “sunshine vitamin” has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes.
About 95% of the Vitamin D produced in your body comes from sunshine, Chatzi said. The remaining 5% is derived from eggs, fatty fish, fish liver oil and fortified foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cereal.
For the study, published in the journal Pediatric Obesity, the team examined 532 mother-child pairs, whereby maternal Vitamin D concentrations were measured during the first prenatal visit.
The results showed that about 66% of the pregnant women had insufficient Vitamin D in the first trimester – a critical period for organ development.
Women in labour should be given more time to give birth and have fewer medical interventions, while participating more in decision-making, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
Among 26 new recommendations, it rejected a traditional benchmark in labour wards worldwide for the dilation of a woman’s cervix at the rate of 1 centimetre per hour, saying it was “unrealistic” and often led to excessive caesarean sections.
“What has been happening over the last two decades is that we are having more and more interventions being applied unnecessarily to women,” said Dr Olufemi Oladapo, a medical officer in WHO’s department of reproductive health and research.
“Things like caesarean sections, and using a drug called oxytocin to speed up labour is becoming very rampant in several areas of the world,” he told a briefing.He was referring to the synthesised form of a natural hormone routinely injected intravenously to women to cause contractions, expediting birth to avoid complications.
Caesarian rates of more than 10-15% do not appear to lead to any significant drop in mortality rates of mother or child, said WHO’s Metin Gülmezoglu.
Among middle-income economies, Latin America, Turkey, China and Iran have high caesarean rates, but so do some hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa, “and often not for the right reasons”, he said.
Women should be allowed to choose their delivery position, including squatting or sitting, and be offered pain relief, Oladapo said.
“We want a situation where women have an informed choice, and they are involved in decision-making,” he said. Episiotomy, a cut made to the woman’s outer genital area to widen the birth canal, is not recommended routinely. “If anything it actually does more harm than good,” he said
Pregnancy demands extra care and special efforts to stay healthy. Every pregnant woman should regularly perform some breathing exercises.
Yoga has special place for pranayama, especially for improved breathing. It is an exercise that allows you to develop natural, controlled deep breathing pattern. We usually take shallow quick breaths which may not allow our body ample time to utilize all the oxygen and exhale the carbon dioxide. With pranayama, you focus on developing awareness of your breathing.
Pranayama can help you breathe well, with an equal balance of oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled and this can be very helpful for you and your child. Take deep breaths and exhale with the same pace. Doing so will help you maintain a perfect balance between oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled.
>> Alternate deep and shallow breathing
Get into a comfortable sitting position and relax your body. Then take one deep breath and exhale slowly, taking the same amount of time in each. Now open your mouth wide and inhale air from your mouth while simultaneously counting up to five. Repeat the same cycle at least 20 times. You can perform this simple breathing exercise several times a day.
>> Breathing from your stomach
Sit in a comfortable place with your legs folded and breathe deep from your lower abdomen, filling your belly with air. Breathe out the carbon dioxide with the same pace. You can also do the exercise while lying on bed. It will improve the oxygen intake and stimulate blood circulation.
>> Breathing from the chest
Stand upright and keep your feet parallel to each other. Keep your mouth closed and take a deep breath counting till 10. Place your hands on your chest. However, take care that you don’t press too hard on your chest. As you inhale, feel your hand move outwards as your lungs expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Take as much time to exhale as you did while inhaling fresh air.