Benefits Of Prenatal Exercise
Benefits Of Prenatal Exercise
We are 3 years, 5 months, and 3 weeks old. Beano is 11 wks. & 5 days old
It’s always important to keep your mind and body active. During pregnancy there is no exception to this. Prenatal exercise does more than just tone the physical you, though that is high on the list of benefits.
Pregnancy is not an excuse to lay on the couch all day every day with a bag of chips on your lap. A little bit of indulging is fine, and of course if you have restrictions due to previous miscarriages or are on bed rest this is completely altered. Worry about exercise AFTER your baby or multiples are born. (You can still watch what you eat though.)
But prenatal exercise for the majority of women who are able to do it helps in SO many ways.
1) It strengthens your body for labor
The pushing phase will most definitely be easier. Also, you may even have a shorter labor because of it! Labor is very taxing on a woman’s body from head to toe. You need all of the stamina you can possibly get. Moderate amounts of exercise will help prepare you for the marathon that is labor.
2) It helps aid in your postpartum recovery
It’s fact that women who are active during their pregnancies have an easier time getting back to their pre-partum body size and shape. They are less likely to over-gain weight during their pregnancies as well. I remember this from my 1st pregnancy (a winter one.) I gained the most of all of my children, had the longest, most difficult labor. I also had the most complications. Coincidence? Probably not. I wasn’t active at all. I learned the next time around that just simple walking can be very beneficial.
Exercise also helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to get your lower half ready for labor. It gives you less of a risk of tearing and reduces the need for an episiotomy in some cases. Postpartum it helps get your vagina back to where it was before giving birth. Kegel exercises are GREAT for this, though exercise in general tones more areas than you may know about.
3) Lessens depression, reduces stress
Exercise helps ward off pregnancy-related ‘hormonal’ depression and helps naturally reduce stress. Exercise is kind of like a tranquilizer for the mind. It even helps with postpartum depression when continued thereafter. When you are given the go ahead after your child or twins are born, of course.
4) It makes mom & baby happier
Endorphins released during exercise are pleasurable to both mother, and believe it or not, to the baby as well. Who knew? Orgasms do this also..so have fun & do both 😆 .
5) Lowers the risk for gestational diabetes and other complications
It helps ward off some potential pregnancy-related complications like gestational diabetes. It may even help lower blood pressure which would help lower your risk of developing pre-eclampsia. (Though not a guarantee. It may help you out there to.)
6) It can reduce your risk of a c-section
Less complications equals a greater chance of a vaginal birth. Also, being able to progress during active labor and use your body to effectively to push helps lower this risk dramatically to. Not everything is in our hands, but you can do the very best that you can to have your optimal birth experience.
7) It helps keep baby at a healthier weight
Exercise helps prevent too large of a baby, which is often due to gestational diabetes and excessive weight gain. We all want our babies to be a healthy weight, but being too large can pose risks to mom and also the baby. Ex. shoulder dystosia.
8 ) It contributes to better sleep
Exercise during pregnancy helps you sleep better. It wards off insomnia which is so important since you likely will have some of that AFTER your baby or twins are born 😀 .
9) It makes you feel more confident during pregnancy
Exercise helps keep your self-esteem healthier and more balanced. All women feel unattractive at some point during pregnancy. But feeling like you are doing something beneficial for your body and your mood helps out big time. A definite reason to get moving!
10) It increases your energy
Exercise is an energy booster! You need energy because as we all know pregnancy is very draining on the body. We get tired early and far more easily. Exercise works like a 5 hour energy drink does for somebody else. Well, without the risks of course.
11) It lessens back pain
A strong core definitely leads to less back pain. I have had a number of pregnancies and where I was most fit prior to pregnancy, I did in fact feel less back pain. There must be something to that. I have two herniated discs in my back and I barely know it because I always try to stay somewhat active and maintain a strong core. Belly binding postpartum was definitely helpful for the back support and getting my abs back together. If you can obtain a stronger core before pregnancy even..do it.
12) It lessens uncomfortable constipation
Can I ever appreciate this one 😛 . Exercise helps keep the digestive track moving along much more normally. It’s already tough staying regular while pregnant, so help a body out and get going. It will make a world of difference. Make sure your diet has a healthy amount of fiber in it to further help with this common, pregnancy plight.
Of course remember..these things are ONLY for those cleared for exercise during pregnancy. The amount and frequency should be discussed with your doctor at your prenatal check up. If you are bed bound do not worry. Focus on the health of your baby or multiples first and foremost. You can worry about getting back into shape after they arrive. You’ll be alright.
These exercises are a great place to start!
(I’ll have a You Tube video coming up shortly. I will add it below when I do.)
So now you know. If you can do it..do it! Just be safe and have a happy and healthy pregnancy!