As a pregnant woman, you’re probably getting bombarded with advice, even when you didn’t ask for it. Physicians, relatives, friends, and total strangers at the grocery store all suddenly have an opinion on your health they feel compelled to share. For a long time, people believed that exercise during pregnancy wasn’t a good idea, especially if you weren’t already a relatively active person. The research we have now shows the exact opposite to be true. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women without major medical or obstetric complications should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on most days of the week. A 2016 study found that most women weren’t meeting that recommendation. Ladies, it’s time to get moving! I know that dry medical recommendations aren’t the most exciting motivator, so here are some interesting benefits of prenatal exercise.
Five Benefits of Prenatal Exercise
1. You’ll gain less weight.
In a review of existing studies, The Cochrane Library found high-quality evidence that diet or exercise interventions, or both, help to reduce excessive weight gain in pregnancy. They may possibly lower the likelihood of a cesarean section, breathing problems in newborns, maternal hypertension, and a baby that is significantly bigger than average.
Researchers have also found that women who work out while pregnant gain 7 pounds less on average and were more likely to stay in the healthy weight-gain range. Exercising also helps improve you, and your baby’s, cardiovascular health.
2. You may have an easier labor.
We don’t really think about labor as an athletic event you need to train for, but it’s certainly easier if you do! No guarantees of course, but those who exercise during pregnancy decrease the chances of requiring outside intervention such as the use of forceps or a C-section. Some studies have found that active labor can be as much as two hours shorter for those who exercise regularly. You’re about to go through the marathon of a lifetime so it makes sense to train for it.
3. You lower your risk of developing gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a serious concern but pregnant women who work out are less likely to develop high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes. Of course, genetics and age both play a role and if you do develop gestational diabetes, exercise can help you avoid the need for insulin for longer than women who did not exercise during pregnancy.
4. You’ll have more energy
So much of your energy is going toward making a person and that can be exhausting! I know it may sound counter-intuitive, but exercising can actually boost your energy levels because it gets your blood flowing, builds your stamina, and releases endorphins that leave you with more energy and feeling happier.
5. You might just sleep better
I know that it’s difficult to sleep when you have someone inside of you kicking your bladder like it’s a soccer ball but exercising during the day can help you fall asleep faster and get a deeper more restful nights sleep so you’re less worn out during the day.
We hope you found this information helpful and will share this post with a friend or family member who is expecting or thinking of growing their family. Want to connect with Missy Currin from Fit4Mom Midtown Raleigh? Hop on over to our Instagram Page on April 10th while she runs an RMB Mom Insta-Takeover sharing her #momlife and best tips to staying healthy.
Are you a new or expecting mom? Join us at our annual Bloom event on Saturday, May 12th at WakeMed North Women’s Hospital from 9AM – 12PM for a morning of pampering, learning, giveaways and so much more. A morning designed for motherhood. Click here to learn more and get your tickets today.
Missy Currin is a Raleigh mom of 3 kids who operates FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh, offering classes and community for all stages of motherhood throughout Midtown Raleigh and Wake Forest. As a former L&D nurse and women’s health nurse educator, one of Missy’s favorite things to do is talk candidly with moms about their health, their motherhood journey and of course, to exercise!