Wow! Your amazing body is making a little person. Exercising while you are pregnant has so many benefits. Most important one is that it gets your body ready for the next step, all the heavy lifting you will be doing once your bundle of joy is in your life. The stronger and healthier you are during your pregnancy, the easier it will be during labor, recovery and all the ups and downs that comes with adding a new little person to your life.
Here is a list of why you should start exercising while you are pregnant:
- INCREASE YOUR ENERGY: during the first and end of the third trimester being tired is a common complaint and for good reason, your body is working hard at making a baby. It seems counter intuitive that working out will give you more energy, but it needs to be the right amount and the right type. Getting too much rest or sleep can actually make you feel more tired. When fatigue starts creeping in I start with a big glass of water, then I start moving (from as simple as stretching and walking to a full on strength cardio workout). Listen to your body and test the water with a little nudge.
- SLEEP BETTER: Exercising during the day will keep your body loose and moving in all the directions you usually don't move as you go through your normal day of sitting, driving, working, etc. Tired muscles rest better at night, they rebuild and that makes you sleep better.
- CONQUER CONSTIPATION: Moving makes you poop! We all feel better when we get rid of waste, keeping a clean diet and regular exercise will make sure you keep emptying the trash out of your body.
- KEEP BACK PAIN AT BAY: As that baby grows we need to keep our muscles working to hold that baby without putting strain on our joints and pressure on our nerves. Doing acceptable core strength exercises is key to avoiding back pain.
- MOOD BOOSTER: Exercising releases our happy hormones, endorphins. Get a dose of endorphins to improve your mood.
- CLOSET THE CRAMPS: Staying in one posture or position for prolonged periods will lead to areas of tension, which leads to cramping. Gentle pregnancy stretching will help you find those areas of tension and get you to a better poster. Stretching also helps flush the "waste" out of your muscles by increasing the blood flow to the muscles that aren't moving enough with your new body that is forming a new posture.
- FIGHT OFF GESTATIONAL DIABETES: If you are at risk the American Diabetes Association highly recommends exercise to prevent gestational diabetes.
- EASIER LABOR & DELIVERY: Moms who exercise during pregnancy have babies born at healthier weights, are better able to weather labor and delivery (they are less stressed by it), and recover from the stresses of birth more quickly. One reason is that moms who exercise tend to have shorter labors and are less likely to need medical intervention during labor.
- SPEEDY RECOVERY: Wow, you just had a baby! Your body was made for making and having babies. The more fit you are during your pregnancy, the faster you will recover physically after childbirth and it will be easier to regain your pre-pregnancy fitness and body.
- BE READY FOR HEAVY LIFTING: Building up core, leg and arm strength will prepare you for some heavy lifting. That baby may only be 8 lbs., but add the car seat, the stroller, the hours of holding, rocking, soothing. The stronger you are the easier it will be to take care of that little special person.
- JUMP BACK INTO YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE: You were tired when you were pregnant, now you aren't sleeping, now you understand that being a parent is hard work. The more fit you are the better you will handle the demands of your new job and those endorphins will keep you in the right mood. Getting back into a regular routine of exercising and eating well will be easy since you were already doing it while you were pregnant.
- WARD OFF BABY BLUES: Postpartum depression is real, if you think you have it ask for help. Finding a group of moms to workout with will help you get out of the house, will connect you with new moms and fill you up with your daily dose of endorphins. I highly recommend finding a Stroller Strides class. The class is made to help moms bond with their babies and other moms.
Keep a healthy environment in your body for your baby to grow healthy.