A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) reported that women who became pregnant with infertility treatment (e.g. ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection) showed an increased risk of maternal morbidity or maternal death (30.8 per 1,000 in infertility treatment women versus 22.2 per 1,000 in women who became pregnant unassisted).
According to this publication:
“Severe maternal morbidity refers to a broad set of conditions that identify women who experience a near-fatal event during, or within 42 days of a pregnancy. The association between assisted reproductive technologies and severe maternal morbidity has been investigated recently in 3 studies in the United States, each reporting an approximate doubling of the risk of severe maternal morbidity among women with pregnancies conceived through assisted reproductive technologies compared to those with pregnancies conceived without.”
Wang ET, Ozimek J, Greene N, et al. Impact of fertility treatment on severe maternal morbidity. Fertil Steril 2016;106:423–6.Google Scholar
Belanoff C, Declercq ER, Diop H, et al. Severe maternal morbidity and the use of assisted reproductive technology in Massachusetts. Obstet Gynecol 2016; 127:527–34.Google Scholar
Vandenbroucke JP, von Elm E, Altman D, et al. Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE): explanation and elaboration. Epidemiology 2007;18:805–35.CrossRefPubMed. Google Scholar
Are you at your optimal weight? Both extremes, underweight or overweight, can impair your health and fertility and may have an adverse effect on your pregnancy. Having a healthy body weight helps maximize fertility success rates. Weight fluctuations either 20% above or below a woman’s target range can disrupt estrogen levels which regulate ovulation. To figure out if you are at your optimal weight calculate your body mass index (BMI).
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There is presently no scientific basis and no official recommendation to keep the heart rate during pregnancy below certain levels.
Physical activity during pregnancy has benefits beyond maintaining or improving physical fitness, including helping with weight management, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, making it easier to cope with labor pain and easing recovery from childbirth.
ACOG, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology encourages pregnant women to engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day most days of the week, as long as there are no medical or obstetric complications. No upper level of safe exercise intensity has been established. Women who exercised regularly before pregnancy and have no pregnancy-related complications can engage in high-intensity exercise programs, such as jogging and aerobics, with no adverse effects.
Some modification of exercise routines may be necessary to accommodate physiologic and anatomic changes that occur during pregnancy, such as changes in the center of gravity, laxity of joints and ligaments and respiratory changes. Activities that involve a high risk of injury, such as downhill skiing and horseback riding, should be avoided, as should contact sports, scuba diving, skydiving and hot yoga.
What forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy?
Certain sports are safe during pregnancy, even for beginners:
- Walking is a good exercise for anyone.
- Swimming is great for your body because it works so many muscles.
- Cycling provides a good aerobic workout.
- Aerobics is a good way to keep your heart and lungs strong.
- If you were a runner before you became pregnant, you often can keep running during pregnancy, although you may have to modify your routine.
It is suggested that women who have the potential of getting pregnant take a supplement of 400-800 mcg of folic acid a day to prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, called neural tube defects (NTDs). Studies also suggest that folic acid may help prevent some other birth defects as well, it may also prevent autism spectrum disorder, and prevent cleft lip and palate. Folic acid intake is important during pregnancy.
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