Is pregnancy a good excuse to skip your workout? Actually, not at all. Experts agree that a safe prenatal exercise plan is beneficial for women without any complications or contraindications during pregnancy. With physician clearance and approval, you can safely continue a current exercise routine and gain benefits for mom and baby.
Before you dive in, you must check in with your doctor and get their approval. Be honest about your current routine, consistency, and goals in order to get the best medical advice and ensure you and baby are healthy and your prenatal workout plan is safe.
Pregnancy often brings unique physical and mental challenges. Our hormones can fluctuate dramatically which affects our eating habits, sleeping patterns, and mood. In addition, whether this your first or fifth pregnancy, adding a new baby to the family probably brings some level of worry and stress
If you’re still tempted to use pregnancy as an excuse to lay on the couch with a box of donuts, read on for some inspiring benefits to prenatal exercise.
Prenatal Exercise Benefits
1. Improve mood and relieve stress
Exercise is a great way to effectively relieve stress. Numerous studies on depression and exercise have found that consistent moderate intensity activity is effective in treating depression symptoms. A simple routine such as walking three times a week can relieve anxiety and have positive effects on mood.
2. Increase energy and sleep better
Exercise can both increase your energy level during the day, and help you sleep more soundly at night. This is partly physiological, but also a result of dealing with stress and anxiety in a healthy way – which gives you the peace to fall asleep and stay asleep more easily at night.
3. Healthy pregnancy weight gain
Yes, pregnancy is one of the few times in your adult life you’re actually expected and encouraged to gain weight – but not too much. If normal weight at the start of pregnancy, the recommendation is to gain 25-35 pounds (and less if you’re overweight or obese).
Excess weight puts you and baby at risk for hypertension, diabetes, premature birth and more.
Although dieting and weight loss are not recommended while pregnant, continuing to stay active can help you gain weight at the appropriate rate and amount throughout your pregnancy.
4. Relieve aches and pains
Pregnancy changes include more than just a growing belly. You might find your back, hips, and other joints are especially achy as you start to put on weight. Strengthening your core and back and focusing on posture through exercise can help relieve some of these pains. As you keep moving, and include appropriate flexibility exercises, you stay in better alignment and avoid unnecessary tightness and imbalance.
5. Stay Regular
Constipation is a common discomfort during pregnancy. Those hormones are partly to blame again, they can mess with your system and cause things to slow down. Along with consuming plenty of fiber and water, exercise can help relieve this issue and keep you regular.
6. Preventing Gestational Diabetes
Regular prenatal exercise can help to prevent and/or manage gestational diabetes, as exercise helps to utilize glucose. The American Diabetes Association encourages special meal plans and scheduled physical activity to help manage gestational diabetes.
7. Feel Better
Simply put, you will FEEL BETTER physically and mentally if you continue to work out regularly throughout your pregnancy. Your eating, sleeping and exercise habits are all intertwined.
A positive effect in one area – like a regular commitment to exercise – will improve your overall wellbeing.
Pregnancy is a wonderful time to get in tune with your body. Although some prenatal changes can be uncomfortable, feeling your baby grow and begin to move is an incomparable experience. Tune in and enjoy this unique and special experience!
Are you (or were you) committed to regular prenatal exercise? What is the top benefit in your opinion?