Gone are the days when women were told to do very little during pregnancy and to endure the discomforts and changes that occurred during this time. Thankfully we have moved on from this and are now realising and experiencing the benefits that come from exercise during pregnancy. What's more? The benefits of exercising during pregnancy don't just stop with the mother, they directly affect unborn babies as well.
Exercise promotes health and wellbeing
Women who exercise whilst pregnant are less likely to gain excess weight during this time they also experience more rapid weight loss post-pregnancy and see improvements in their sleeping patterns and general mood. This is particularly important post-pregnancy with postnatal depression providing mothers with a sense of control and increased self-esteem at a time when life can seem a little out of control.
Exercise brings out the "feel-good factor"
Whilst being pregnant it is not uncommon to feel really flat, lack energy and be nauseous. The feel-good factor of exercise is a great motivator during pregnancy and often increases energy levels. Exercise and endorphins can help alleviate any excess stress and anxiety that mothers may be feeling as part of their daily lives particularly leading up to the birth and provide both mother & baby with an increase in circulation and blood flow.
Exercise helps with your fitness endurance and breathing
Your health and fitness are very important when pregnant yet so is your endurance and breathing. Both of which can be improved during your pregnancy to help you have an easier birth. Recent research suggests women who regularly exercise during pregnancy experience shorter labours less need for induction and lower rates of caesarian section deliveries. This has benefits for both mother and baby as the birth is less traumatic and stressful resulting in a happier healthier mother and baby.
Exercise assists with the body changes experienced during pregnancy
During pregnancy, many changes occur in a woman's body, both musculoskeletal and physiological. These changes can result in a varied centre of gravity, weight gain, pressure on joints, lower back pain, tilted pelvis (due to the size and position of the baby) shoulder & neck misalignment and looser joints of the body (due to increased levels of relaxing and other hormones). It is important to address these postural imbalances during pregnancy to minimise injury now and post-birth. These imbalances can easily be addressed through strength & stability correction as part of your weekly exercise routine.
So now that we've covered some of the unlimited benefits of exercise for you and baby during pregnancy, there should be no stopping you from getting out there and reaping the rewards! Be sure to consult your GP or obstetrician prior to embarking on an exercise routine and if possible seek guidance from a healthcare professional who can steer you in the right direction with regards to appropriate exercises for each stage of your pregnancy.
Written by Annette Buckley