BENEFITS OF EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY
This is probably one of my favorite topics. Exercising during pregnancy provides a lot of benefits, for the mom and the baby. If you used to exercise regularly before pregnancy, like I did, you will be able to keep doing the majority of those activities. It takes more energy than usual and a lot more of motivation but I promise, it’s worth it. Even though I had a great pregnancy, I did suffer from restless legs syndrome, so sitting on the couch to rest after work was a not a good option for me. This pushed me to stay active in the evenings.
If exercising was not part of your daily life before pregnancy, you should try to choose a lower intensity workout like walking, prenatal yoga, pilates or swimming.
What are some of the awesome advantages?
- Improves cardiorespiratory endurance.
- Keeps your muscles toned and this will make easier to go back to your prepregnancy body shape.
- Provides more elasticity to your joints. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the ovary and the placenta that relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix in preparation for childbirth. With prenatal yoga or pilates you could gain the benefits of flexibility and stress reduction.
- It gives you more energy! Exercise can help you get through your daily routine more easily.
- Helps to maintain a healthy body weight until the end of the pregnancy. Research shows that you could put on 7 pounds (3 Kg) less than pregnant women who don’t stay active during pregnancy (while still staying in the healthy weight gain range).
- Helps to reduce the physical discomforts of pregnancy and promotes better sleep.
- Improves your mood. Active soon to be moms show better moods than sedentary ones.
- Labor and delivery might be easier and shorter. A good cardiovascular system and strong abdominal muscles can give you more strength during the pushing stage of labor.
In my opinion, giving birth can be related to running a marathon because both require stamina, persistence and concentration.
The baby will also benefit from your workouts. He/she could have a healthier heart and you may be developing a more athletic kid.
Don’t worry if you suddenly feel that you’re not up for the task. Whether you’re exercising for 30-60 minutes daily or just 20 minutes a few times a week, the important thing is to remain active and keep your blood flowing. Both options will be beneficial to you and your baby’s health.
Feeling ambitious? Finishing a 5K or 10K will make you feel like you just conquered the world! I completed a 10K run when I was 36 weeks pregnant and it was the most exhausting but funnest race ever. Runners were clapping, smiling and making jokes since before the run started. I was able to keep running (at a snail’s pace) until week 37, and I truly recommend that everyone keeps up with their workouts during those 9 months.
There are some activities that are not recommended during pregnancy, such as biking, skating, skiing or any sport that could cause a dangerous fall. Please have approval from your doctor to perform physical activities during pregnancy, especially those which require intense physical effort.