Benefits of exercise during pregnancy and how it has personally helped me.
Posted Mar 04 2014 2:37pm
Happy Happy Tuesday! It was a happy Tuesday indeed over here. We got a late start today due to the freezing temperatures and rain here in Austin. Although, I missed my 7 AM Pilates people, it was sure nice to sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast with E. Luckily the roads cleared up in time for my 10:15 AM class so all was not lost.
Today, I want to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart - the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. We all know that we should continue exercising during pregnancy, but even I was surprised by all of the benefits to not only you but your bambino. I know exercising during pregnancy, especially if it is your first baby, can be a little scary. However, I promise if you do it right, it can help you have a happier healthier pregnancy and baby.
Between morning sickness, aching joints, back pain, and fatigue, finding the will to exercise during pregnancy can be hard, but I hope this post will give you a little more motivation to get moving in whatever way makes you happy!
Benefits Of Exercise During Pregnancy (with my personal experiences and two cents thrown in):
It makes you feel like your old self (kinda). With pregnancy, come lots of changes (and I mean lots), so being able to do something you enjoyed before pregnancy can help you hold on to a sense of normalcy that can be both comforting and uplifting. Plus, women who exercise have a healthier body image which is something I definitely want to pass on to Annabelle.
It helps you control unnecessary weight gain. We are pregnant.... we will gain weight.... and that's ok! However, women who exercise throughout their pregnancy have been shown to gain 7 less pounds than those who forgo exercise.
Makes you more fit for delivery. Maintaining a strong core and cardiovascular system during pregnancy can help prepare you to tackle the marathon that is labor. I know I want all the help i can get in this department.
Decrease complications during birth. According to FitPregnancy.com, regular exercisers are 75 percent less likely to need a forceps delivery, 55 percent less likely to have an episiotomy and up to four times less likely to have a Cesarean section. Point me to the treadmill right now please!
Decreases your risk for gestational diabetes. I know personally, this is something I am pretty worried about and keen on doing whatever I can to prevent. Studies show that women who exercise during pregnancy can lower their risk of gestational diabetes by 27%.
Increases energy levels and helps fight 1st and 3rd trimester fatigue. As someone who is used to going going going all day long, first trimester fatigue definitely took me by surprise. I was determined to stick to my exercise program despite the fatigue, and I think it made all the difference in how I felt. I was able to keep up with my classes and do a few workouts a week on my own. I felt better after every workout no matter how I felt beforehand! On days you don't feel like working out (trust me, I completely understand), try going for a walk around the block. The combination of movement and fresh air can do wonders!
6 mile hike at Pedernales Falls when I was 4 months prego.
Improve your sleep during pregnancy. I have to be honest with you guys, this is one area that I have not seen improvement, but many women report improved sleep patterns with regular exercise. I have always been an extremely light sleeper and that has seemed to get worse with pregnancy. You win some you loose some right?
Keeps your bambino healthy and happy. This reason alone should keep us all moving right? Babies of mom's who exercise are born at a healthier weight and are better able to deal with the stresses of labor. Exercise can also help strengthen your babies ticker.
Speed up the recovery process. The higher your fitness level during pregnancy, the quicker you will be able to bounce back afterwards. Plus, that little one is going to need you to be in tip top shape to take care of their every need once they finally arrive. :)
Decrease back pain and discomfort. The extra weight pulling on our low back muscles can be a real pain, literally. Exercises that help strengthen your core muscles can help prevent excess lordosis (curvature of the lower spine) and therefore, back pain. I am constantly thinking about tightening my core and pelvic floor muscles throughout the day so I don't over strain my lower back. I can really tell a difference when I am diligent about it and when I'm not.
Helps prevent swelling. I don't know about you, but anything that can prevent bloating is a win in my book. As someone who feels like a water balloon after a girls night out to sushi, keeping the bloat at bay is extremely important to me.
You can increase your babies chances of making it to the Olympics. Ok, this might be a slight exaggeration. However, studies have shown that 20-year-olds who were exposed to exercise in utero performed better in athletic activities than those who's mothers did not workout while pregnant. I'm hoping E doesn't read this post, or else he'll have me running laps and doing push-ups until they roll me into delivery! ;)
These are really only a few of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy; however, they are some of the big ones and the ones that I have seen throughout my 23 weeks on this journey! I hope you'll join me and commit to stay fit during your pregnancy. I have posts planned for the coming weeks on helpful tips for exercising during pregnancy and my favorite prenatal workouts. Are their any specific topics you would like me to cover?
What helped you stay motivated to exercise during pregnancy?