Exercise might be one of the last things on a wo¯man’s mind while she’s pregnant. The changes in her body and her life are more than en¯ough to keep her preoccupied for the next nine months. However, over the last decade, scientists and other medical professionals have discovered that exercising during pregnancy can have a great deal of benefits on both the mother and the child.
As long as the pregnancy doesn’t have complications or is a high risk pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians recommends that expecting mothers participate in 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day.
The following is a list of benefits associated with exercising during pregnancy:
Gain less weight: exercising can help to limit the amount of weight gained during pregnancy. This will in turn, alleviated some of the stress that the extra weight can cause on the body in the form of aches and pains. Additionally, this means it will be easier to return to a pre-pregnancy weight.
Increases energy: improved cardiovascular and muscular conditioning levels will help to prevent the natural fatigue associated with pregnancy.
Improved sleep: with all of the changes in a woman’s body, it may become more uncomfortable to sleep especially during the last trimester. Additionally, it’s easy for a woman to become anxious about everything that’s going on. Exercising can help to relax the woman and relieve her of anxiety, which will allow for better sleep at night.
Hypertension: exercising doesn’t only help to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) in men and women, but it also helps to prevent high blood pressure associated with pregnancy. A lower blood pressure can reduce some of the stress on the body and the baby.
Diabetes: in many pregnancies, women develop gestational diabetes due to the changes that the body goes through, causing issues with insulin resistance. Exercise has been found to help prevent gestational diabetes and help to keep insulin levels in a healthy range.
Posture: exercising can help to strengthen the core muscles, which will go a long way to improving a pregnant woman’s posture. Additionally, this will help to relieve back aches.
Muscular: exercising helps to improve muscular strength, definition and endurance. This will go a long way in being able to perform daily routines and activities like walking to work or the car, shopping, going up and down stairs, carrying items and more.
Childbirth: improved muscular conditioning helps to make the labor process easier and smoother because the mother will me stronger and more conditioned to endure the long process. Also, exercise decreases the chances of needing a c-section or other non-natural delivery methods.
Digestion: exercise, and a healthy diet, helps to keep the digestive system running smoothly. Typically, many women experience constipation during pregnancy, but exercise and fiber can help to prevent this.
The baby: exercising during pregnancy has many benefits on the baby like: improving baby’s heart, improved nutrient flow to the fetus, improved health of the newborn and a lower risk of a baby experiencing health conditions like obesity.
All pregnant women should consult their physicians before participating in an exercise program. Additionally, a pregnant woman should immediately stop exercising if she experiences any of the following: vaginal bleeding, contractions, swelling, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath and leaking fluids.