Why exercise when you’re pregnant?
Exercise is a recipe for feeling great, whatever age or stage of life you are in. However, many women stop exercising altogether when pregnant. Here are 10 reasons why you should carry on, or even start, exercising when you’re expecting!
You may gain less weight.
Research suggests that you may gain much less weight than sedentary pregnant women. You will also find it much easier to stay within the prescribed healthy weight gain range.
You’ll have more energy.
It may seem contradictory but working out when you feel tired can actually help to raise energy levels. Making you feel much better than you would if you take a rest.
You could have an easier time of labour.
No guarantees, but being fit, strong and healthy while pregnant can help you to have the stamina to go through the potential marathon that is labour and delivery of your baby.
You’ll recover from labour faster.
Whether you have a natural birth or c-section, maintaining your fitness and strength throughout pregnancy can help you to recover faster. Strong, healthy bodies heal faster and the fitter you are the more energetic you will be, which can only be a good thing post birth!
You’ll reduce your risk of gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can put you at a greater risk of developing Type II diabetes later in life. It increases the risk of a delivering early or having an overweight baby. Exercise during pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes. It can also help if you do develop it, which is possible despite your fitness levels: Age and genetics play a significant role in determining who will develop the condition. Exercise can help those who have gestational diabetes to avoid or delay the need for medications such as insulin.
You’ll boost your mood.
According to the American Congress of Obstericians and Gynaecologists around 14-23% of pregnant women will experience some level of prenatal depression. Exercise helps the body to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which act as mood regulators and boosters. These help combat some of the symptoms of depression and could help some women avoid the pre-baby blues altogether.
You’re less likely to experience back pain.
Back pain is a common complaint in pregnancy as your posture alters and ligaments stretch to accommodate the growing baby. Exercise and particularly core and strength training can help to improve posture, increase joint stability and pelvic alignment. Which may just save you from the dreaded pregnancy back pain.
It may help you avoid intervention during labour.
Research has found that regular exercisers are around 75% less likely to have a forceps delivery. 55% less likely to need an episiotomy. And around 4 times less likely to need a caesarian section. Exhaustion of the mother is often a reason for medical intervention so the more stamina you have the more likely you are to get through labour.
You’ll get your pre-baby body back faster.
Women who exercise during pregnancy return to their pre-pregnancy shape around 40% faster than women who don’t exercise. Getting back in shape after your baby isn’t the be all and end all, but it’s a nice bonus of all that pregnancy exercise!
Your baby might just end up fitter and smarter!
Some research has suggested that the children of mothers who exercised during pregnancy performed better at sports than their peers whose mothers didn’t exercise. Other studies have shown that babies of mothers who exercise have more mature brain development at birth, which could give them a head start in the intelligence stakes!
Exercise during pregnancy has multiple benefits for both you and your baby. If you don’t already exercise then give it a whirl – take it gently to begin with and build up slowly. Your body and your baby might just thank you for it!
If you are looking for prenatal (or postnatal) personal training in the Surrey area, I offer a number of packages to help you stay and fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. Check my pregnancy and postnatal training page for more details.