Pregnancy VS Exercise
Some people are unsure as to whether or not exercise is a good idea when you’re expecting but contrary to belief exercise actually has an endless list of benefits. As long as it is done in the right way it is in no way detrimental to that mini-you inside of you and if anything it is more beneficial than sitting around doing nothing.
Here is a list of a few benefits of exercising whilst pregnant:
1) It can help you in labour: so this one is not a guarantee for everyone. However various studies have shown that exercising during pregnancy can cause shorter labours, less medical intervention and less exhaustion during labour. It’s no doubt that with an increased muscle tone and a healthy cardiovascular system that your increased strength and stamina is going to play a big role in helping you get that baby out.
2) It can ease that lower back pain: as your baby grows you may find your stomach muscles weaken and create a hollow in your lower back, causing it to really ache. However going along to pregnancy yoga classes or practicing stomach and pelvic tilt exercises designed for pregnant women can help to strengthen the area and ease off that pain a lot.
3) It’ll help you get into shape quicker after you’ve given birth: if you exercise when you are pregnant it should help you to lessen the gain of those excess pounds, the less weight you gain during pregnancy the less weight you have to shift afterwards.
4) It can help you sleep better: a lot of women particularly towards the last few months of the pregnancy have difficulty in sleeping. Exercise will help to burn of some of that excess energy and should help you fall into a deeper sleep.
5) Exercising lowers your risk of gestational diabetes: this is a huge benefit. It is thought that exercising before your pregnant reduces your chances of diabetes during pregnancy by 30% and lowers it significantly more so if you exercise during pregnancy. However it is important to remember that age and genetics can also play a role in developing diabetes during pregnancy. If you do develop diabetes in pregnancy light exercise can help to manage your bodies need for insulin.
6) Reduces those mood swings: During pregnancy your hormones are all over the place taking you on an emotional roller coaster. Exercise is proven to increase the bodies production of endorphins hence boosting your mood and helping to keep that stress and anxiety at bay.
7) Decreases constipation : something many pregnant women suffer with, exercise helps to stimulate the movements in the bowels. An active body means an active bowel.
8) Gives you ‘me’ time: bit of a funny one but on a serious note if this is your first child it gives you the ability to enjoy your last bit of hassle free time alone before the child comes along. After they arrive you will have to arrange endless amounts of childcare or potentially take them everywhere with you.
9) Reduces swelling: a lot of women during pregnancy find their feet and ankles swell up this is because of an increased retention in fluids and lack of blood flow due to an increased pressure on the veins. Exercise helps increase the flow of blood in the body hence reducing some of those limbs swelling up.
10) The baby may be born with a healthier heart: studies have shown that women who exercise whilst pregnant compared to those who don’t appear to give birth to a baby with a more efficient cardiovascular system.
Things to remember when exercising whilst pregnant:
– Always check your trainer or class teacher knows how to train pregnant women and is qualified to do so.
– Don’t push yourself to exhaustion.
– Stay hydrated and cool.
– Don’t lay on your back for long periods of time as this can cut off the main blood supply to the baby.
– Avoid contact sports, especially consider if your thinking of continuing your sport you take part in already.
– Avoid exercises that disrupt your balance too much. Pregnancy alters your centre of gravity meaning your more likely to fall if anything stresses your ability to balance.
– Don’t carry out exercises overhead as this draws the blood away from the vital organs which the baby needs.
And last but not least enjoy yourself, exercise should help to make those 9months more pleasurable than it already is for that little bundle of joy on the way.
Rebecca Collingwood Sports Therapy Bsc (Hons)
Better Body Group, Sevenoaks