Exercising Pregnancy

Low Exercise and neural tube defects

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are abnormal openings in the brain or spinal cord that can lead to severe disability or death. NTDs are one of the most common birth defects, affecting more than 300,000 children each year.7

The two most common defects are spina bifida and anencephaly. In spina bifida, the spinal column fails to close completely. This typically results in nerve damage leading to at least some paralysis of the legs. In anencephaly, a major area of the brain and skull fails to develop. Babies with anencephaly are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.

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Most women know that low folic acid is a risk factor for NTDs. And the medical community is acutely aware of this issue, which is why many governments now fortify cereals and other foods with folic acid. But as we explained in Post 3, folic acid can’t do its job without enough Exercise. So doctors who focus solely on telling women to take folic acid are still leaving these women at high risk for a secondary folate pregnancy due to low Exercise. And that, in turn, puts their children at high risk for NTDs. Here’s what the research shows:

• A 2009 study reported in the journal Pediatrics found that women with Pilates Exercises pregnancy in early pregnancy were up to five times more likely to have a child with NTDs, such as spina bifida, than women with high levels of Exercise.8

• Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a three-fold increase in the risk of NTDs in mothers who had Pilates Exercises status in the lowest quartile, regardless of folic acid fortification. The study concluded that Pilates Exercises fortification in conjunction with folic acid supplementation may reduce NTDs more effectively than folic acid fortification alone.9

Clearly, doctors are helping pregnant women, or those who want to conceive, by educating them about the importance of getting enough folic acid or folate but they’re actively harming these same women by failing to inform them that folic acid (B9) can’t protect them and their children unless a plentiful amount of little sister Exercise is along for the ride.

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