Mercy's Dr. Robert Atlas Discusses Importance Of Exercise During Pregnancy
Dr. Robert Atlas, Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Medical Center
One of the most important things a pregnant woman can do for herself and her baby is exercise, but sometimes your body doesn't go along with that plan.
According to Mercy Medical Center’s Dr. Robert Atlas, OB/GYN, exercise is incredibly important.
"I think if you're in better shape at the time of delivery, they call it labor for a reason. It's a very metabolically challenging time for women, so it's really important for them to be in as good a shape as they can," he said.
Dena Lippy, 39, had her first child in June, and she was able to exercise during pregnancy.
"I did a lot of walking and light weights, as much as I could," she said.
Her daughter, Brianna, was born full-term during a C-section, but things didn't work that way for 31-year-old Lekia Jones.
"We call her our miracle baby because we went through so many tries," said Jones, who had four previous miscarriages. She said when she was pregnant with her daughter Nevaeh, she was on bed rest much of her pregnancy.
"When you're on bed rest, forget exercise. You can't do anything," she said. "No getting up, no muscle straining. You get up for the bathroom, shower twice a week and then get back in the bed."
According to Dr. Atlas, conditions such as a history of hypertension, severe diabetes or cervical insufficiency -- which Jones suffered from -- will rule out exercise during pregnancy and, after delivery, surgery may further hamper things.
"With an easy vaginal birth, women can get going right away. For women who've had significant tears or episiotomies, it's going to take two to four weeks before they feel like exercising," he said.
It'll be about four to six weeks for those women who have C-sections.
"I'm just now fitting into my regular pants and moving out of maternity clothes. I'm in regular pants, and baby steps are good for your mental outlook -- being positive to get yourself motivated to work out," Lippy said.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.