Why you should exercise during pregnancy.
At your initial OB appointment, you should discuss with your provider your current activity level as well your daily routines. Together you can develop a safe and individual plan for exercise during your pregnancy. Remember to get to know your body. I believe our bodies are miracles and they are great about telling us if something is wrong. Learn to listen to your body and respond accordingly. Also get comfortable with your OB. Be prepared to discuss any changes or concerns.
Below are some of the most common benefits to exercise during pregnancy as well as my personal experiences and benefits from exercising during my pregnancies.
Exercise during pregnancy can decreased weight gain
Your health care provider will discuss with you’re the recommended weight gain for you individually. However, in general, it is recommended for healthy women who become pregnant to gain 25-35 lbs while pregnant. Minimal weight gain not only decreases your risk for health related complications while pregnant, but also decreases your risk after pregnancy as well.
- I was able to stay at the 25lb mark with my first pregnancy and at the rate I am going having 2 weeks left I will be within the 30lb with my second. I was able to continue to exercise while pregnant with both pregnancies and I know it has played a role in less weight gain.
Exercise during pregnancy can contribute to faster postpartum weight loss
The less you gain, the less you have to lose. We all know how hard it is to lose weight in general, much less if its 30+ lbs plus you now have children to try and juggle. Keep in mind if you are decreasing the gain while pregnant with a particular exercise routine, start back up after delivery.
- I was able to lose my pregnancy weight in 9 months. It took me 9 months to gain it and 9 months to lose it. Since I know that my body is sensitive to certain food groups, I had to be very careful with intake. This was a struggle with breastfeeding and calories; however my health was also important and played a role in intake.
Exercise during pregnancy supports healthier babies
There is correlation between women who exercise during pregnancy and a decreased risk of having a baby who is too small or too large. There is also research to support the relationship between abnormal birth weights in babies and an increased risk of developing medical conditions later in life. Exercise is a choice you can make from day one to help positively impact your health and the health of your baby.
- My first-born was 8 lbs 5 oz and without any complications.
Exercising during pregnancy can help prevent disease
Although there are multiple factors that can contribute to diseases such as diabetes in pregnancy, we know that exercise can prevent this disease even when not pregnant. Physical activity can impact the way your body processes sugar. We also know that with all the hormonal and metabolic changes that are occurring in your body during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of sugar instability. Research supports the idea that regular exercise can help prevent the development of gestational diabetes, as well as possibly change the course of treatment for those who are already diagnosed.
- Genetically I am and forever will be at risk for insulin resistance or blood sugar and metabolism irregularities. This plays a huge role in weight loss and weight gain for me even while not pregnancy. Over the past few years after learning this about myself, I have watched my diet very closely so that I am not ruining my exercise efforts with my intake. I have also noticed how significantly diet and exercise go hand in hand when regulating disease prevention or control. I believe that exercise can 100% lower your risk and prevent diabetes.
Exercising can decrease risk of high blood pressure
Research is suggesting that those who exercise, before becoming pregnant, and during pregnancy are less likely to develop blood pressure complications such as gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.
- I did not have blood pressure complications with either pregnancy and have never had any when not pregnant.
Exercise during pregnancy can contribute to mood improvement
Pregnancy is associated with mood changes and about one in ten new moms will experience some form of depression while pregnant or during the postpartum stage. I believe exercise is the most common unused medication to treat depression and has been proven to treat the symptoms. So this is another choice you can make to improve your overall pregnancy experience.
- Exercise has ALWAYS been a mood booster for me. I always feel a mental benefit not matter if I feel a physical one. I feel so out of control during pregnancy that exercise is something that I can control and always improves my mood and outlook on things. I also feel the negatives effects of my mood when I cannot exercise.
Exercise during pregnancy can contribute to better sleep
Although it is difficult to get good sleep as your pregnancy progresses, we know that exercise is associated with a better quality of sleep and less fatigue.
- Thankfully, I am generally a great sleeper and I have always partly contributed that to my daily exercise routine. I do feel I rest better.
Exercise during pregnancy can lessen muscle/joint pain
We know that hormonal changes during pregnancy can create muscle and joint aches and pains. Studies suggest that about there is a large portion of pregnant women who experience low back pain specifically. Even when not pregnant, exercises such as swimming, water aerobics and yoga have been shown to lead to a decrease in low back pain. However, typically any form of exercise for most women will help decrease musculoskeletal pain.
- Other than the typical joint laxity and aches, I had very little pain during pregnancy, especially with my first child. My second pregnancy has been different due to complications and the biggest difference I contribute this to is the decreased physical activity level I have been constrained to. So do not stop exercising and your body will thank you later.
Exercise during pregnancy can labor, deliver and postpartum medication needs
Pain medication during labor might not even be something you have not considered; however, thinking about, you need to be prepared, both mentally and physically. Studies suggest that women who exercise in pregnancy require fewer medical interventions during labor and are less likely to need pain medication during the recovery phase.
- I was able to stick with my birthing plan (natural, pain medication free) during and after labor and delivery. I contribute it hugely to my efforts in staying healthy and fit.
Exercise during pregnancy can strengthen your relationships
We all know that exercise is a fun, healthy way to get closer to those you love. Your support group plays a huge role in your pregnancy whether you believe it or not. Whether it be your spouse, friends or gym class members, these people support your efforts, can encourage you and empower you to make good choice while pregnant.
- Exercising with my husband during my pregnancy was one of the most rewarding things we had ever done together. The sense of support and love is something I will never forget.
The Fit NP