Staying Active Before and During Pregnancy to Reduce Birth-Related Complications

May 2, 2013

Pregnancy is a delicate time. In order to give birth to a healthy baby, mommies-to-be need to get fit and healthy ahead of time. Living an active lifestyle and eating the right food are a great start for any future mom’s pregnancy journey.

Being active while pregnant may seem scary to some moms. Many women tend to avoid physical exercise for fear of causing problems such as premature birth. Contrary to this commonly held view, more and more health professionals recommend maintaining physical activity while pregnant. In reality, not moving around is much more dangerous for you. Being too sedentary can lead to unhealthy weight gain, high blood pressure, a higher risk for a required C-section, and a higher risk for gestational diabetes and even type II diabetes after child birth.

Practising 30 to 60 minutes of cardio and strength exercises a few times per week offers many benefits for expectant mothers. If running (not sprinting!) isn’t your thing, moderate activity like walking will still keep you, and your future baby, healthy. Research conducted by the University of Western Ontario, Canada, has shown that prenatal walking at any intensity combined with healthy eating habits are beneficial to the mother and the fetus.

Strength training is also safe to perform during pregnancy, so long as you keep it moderate. If you’re new to strength building, make sure you consult specialists to ensure you are performing exercises correctly and safely.   During pregnancy, the body releases relaxin, a hormone that loosens ligaments to prepare for delivery. However, low to moderate strength training is unaffected by this. Maintaining a regular strength training schedule will not only keep you in shape, it will also help get rid of many of the aches and pains that come with pregnancy. Stay fit for you and baby with free weights, push-ups, and squats.

As your body changes, you may find that it’s harder to perform the exercise routines you’re used to. You’ll have good and bad days at the gym – it is most important to listen to your body and make sure you never reach the point where you are breathless and cannot speak during workouts.

Help your baby get a head start on a healthy lifestyle by being active and eating right.  Always remember to talk to your doctor before starting any new physical activity, and stay in touch throughout your pregnancy. For more tips, information, and fun ideas, check out SPRING online.

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South African President Calls on Leaders to Fight HIV to End Maternal Mortality

May 2, 2013

Africa accounted for nearly 70% of people living with HIV around the world in 2011. With little access to treatment, little sex education or access to condoms, and a high level of stigma, South Africa has experience some of the highest percentages of new HIV infections. South African President Jacob Zuma hopes to change this.

At the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), President Zuma joined over 15 other Heads of State to review and reflect upon past initiatives to reduce maternal mortality. With HIV contributing to 40% of maternal and child deaths in South Africa, this was a targeting point for Zuma.

South Africa made substantial gains against HIV and AIDS in 2012 by dropping new infections by 50% in 13 countries, and Zuma wants to maintain that ground by increasing access to condoms, medication, and antiretroviral treatment.

Leaders reflected on past successes, like the “Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity” initiative adopted by the African Union. This initiative developed a new course in dealing with TB, Malaria, and AIDS by optimizing returns from AIDS investments, increasing the ability to manufacture medication, and strengthening accountability.

As leaders continue to publicly take a stand against HIV and AIDS, Africa continues to leave a path of tragedy to a future full of hope. To stay up to date with the latest news about HIV and AIDS, visit HIV Advocates online. Get your daily dose of advocacy stories, advice, and inspiration.


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