I felt pretty awesome throughout my pregnancy. At first, I assumed it was mostly luck, but as the weeks went by, I realized this feeling was because of my actions pre-pregnancy & during. Although my workouts changed, I stayed active my entire pregnancy, even going to prenatal yoga 2 days before having my son.
Not too long ago, exercising while pregnant wasn’t nearly as common as it is now. My own mother said she was afraid to do anything active while pregnant with me. Now, exercise is not only allowed but its strongly encouraged by doctors. But don’t just take my word for it; let’s review 5 reasons you should exercise during pregnancy.
1. Reduces unpleasant pregnancy symptoms: From leg cramps to hemorrhoids to back pain, being pregnant can be an uncomfortable affair. Adding movement into your day can help relieve many common symptoms of pregnancy. By getting your blood flowing – whether by walking, yoga, or strength training, etc. – you will increase your circulation, which helps with everything from varicose veins, leg cramps, and constipation. Back pain can be reduced by strengthening the muscles of the body that help support it as your belly grows.
2. Improves your mood: It’s incredibly stressful to prepare for a new person to enter your life! Mood swings are synonymous with pregnancy, and luckily simply getting some exercise can help even out these intense feelings by releasing endorphins. Endorphins not only help boost positive feelings, but they also help reduce pain perception. Exercising with friends or in a class with other moms-to-be gives you an additional mood boost because of the sense of community and friendship.
3. May help prevent, or treat, gestational diabetes: Your healthcare provider has likely talked to you about gestational diabetes, and if you haven’t had the glucose test, you’ll take that between 24-28 weeks. Research has shown that moderate physical activity a few times a week during pregnancy improved the mother’s glucose tolerance, helping to prevent gestational diabetes. Plus, higher levels of physical activity both before and in early pregnancy significantly lowered their risk of developing gestational diabetes.
4. Improves sleep: Getting your sweat on can help you sleep better at night and make it easier to fall into a deeper sleep. If your workout is energizing, make sure you finish your workout at least 3 hours before you plan to go to bed; if you choose more-mindful movements like yoga, feel free to move while in your PJs.
5. Prepares you for childbirth: If you aren’t sold on prenatal exercise by now, then listen up! Exercise will help you have an easier, likely quicker, labor. Being physically fit may not reduce the actual pain of labor, but mentally getting through a tough workout will help you manage the pain of labor more readily.</p> <p>There are studies that suggest women who worked out during pregnancy have shorter and less exhaustive labors. Think of giving birth as an endurance event. You may be able to get through a marathon with little to no training, but you certainly won’t feel good!