As a three time Olympic medallist in trampoline, and a hopeful contender for next year’s PanAM Games, Karen Cockburn puts in long and challenging training hours: six days a week, up to six hour per day. But when she became pregnant last year, that changed. You can usually continue to exercise when you’re pregnant, but with trampoline, you have to stop because of the impact and everything so I had to find other things to stay in shape. Karen turned to lower impact and lower risk activities lik indoor biking and swimming, advised by her physician Dr. Karen Fleming. Dr. Fleming says many women worry about how much, and what kind of activity is safe during pregnancy. Interestingly we know that the risks of being sedentary in pregnany outweigh in a lower risk health pregnancy the risks of being active. Being sedentary can contribute to excessive weight gain, which in turn is linked to a host of other risks. Diabetes, in your future cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke. The risk of gestational diabetes and complications during labour also increase. Ideally, Dr. Fleming says women will start their pregnancies already exercising. Canadian guidelines, called the PAR MedEX for Pregnancy spell out out what is safe for each stage. For uncomplicated pregnancies where women have been active, they can continue exercising with adjustments to intensity and safe activities. If women haven’t been active, it’s not recommended to start exercising until the second trimester. In otherwise uncomplicated pregnancies, exercise does not increase miscarriage risk, does not increase the risk of preterm labour and within guidelines, ie. keeping exercise between three to four times a week it does not adversely affect the birthweight. What exercise will do is help mothers maintain a healthy weight, boost mood and prepare the body for labour which for Karen lasted 27 hours. Her daughter Emilie which Karen describes as her greatest acheivement yet, was born last September. I always appreciated my body for what it could do perform these stunts twenty feet in the air but having a baby and going through a pregnancy really made me appreciate my body more and what it was capable of doing and that’s why it’s important to treat it so well, to eat well to exercise because you’re going to feel good and your body is going to work better. Work better before, during and after pregnancy because it’s easier to bounce back when you’ve put in the work. With Sunnyview, I’m Monica Matys.