It might seem as if there are a lot of things you cannot do during pregnancy. You must eliminate certain foods, give up caffeine, refrain from drinking alcohol, and leave many of the pet care duties to your significant other. Fortunately, there are some things you can and should continue to do during pregnancy.
Exercise is one of those things. If you currently exercise, speak with your doctor about your routine. He or she can help you determine which exercises to keep and which to postpone until after delivery.
If you have no current fitness routine, now is a great time to add gentle exercise. There are too many health benefits to neglect exercise during your pregnancy. Women with low risk pregnancies can incorporate low-intensity workouts into their daily lives with little risk, but it is still a good idea to consult your doctor before moving forward with your new pregnancy fitness plans.
Exercise during pregnancy provides a number of benefits. Many women experience nagging aches and pains while pregnant, especially as their bodies change and the baby develops.
Exercise can help relieve the pain from these changes. If you are experiencing any of the following physical ailments during pregnancy, consider gentle exercise a safe remedy.
• Back pain
• Poor circulation
• Varicose veins
• Leg cramps
• High blood pressure
Benefits for You
In addition to physical ailments, pregnancy can also create a number of psychological and emotional disturbances. There is a lot of joy associated with being pregnant, but it can also wreak havoc on hormones and your ability to think straight. Exercise improves oxygen circulation to the brain and can rid you of that foggy feeling many women call “pregnancy brain.”
Exercise also eases mood swings. The intense emotions felt during pregnancy can enhance the experience, but they can also make daily life miserable. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can relieve your mood swings and help you feel emotionally stable.
Another benefit of exercise during pregnancy is its ability to limit common disorders associated with being pregnant. Exercise can reduce your risk for gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It also prevents you from gaining too much weight, so it will be easier to restore your body once your baby arrives.
Finally, exercise during pregnancy can make for an easier labor and delivery. A fit body also bounces back faster after delivery, so you’ll have the energy to deal with your newborn.
Benefits for the Baby
Exercise improves the health of the placenta. This tissue provides oxygen, nutrients, and blood to the baby, so the healthier the better. Exercise promotes healthy placenta growth and makes for easier elimination after birth.
The movement associated with gentle exercise calms baby. Research has shown that exercise during pregnancy can help the baby sleep in utero. Exercise also helps babies grow healthier, with less body fat at birth. Babies born to mothers who exercise are reportedly more alert and less demanding throughout infancy.
The key to using exercise to create a healthy pregnancy is to understand your body and know what is safe. Speak with your doctor about a target heart rate during pregnancy exercise and listen to your body. If something does not feel right while working out, stop immediately and contact your doctor.