Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Many of my clients ask me if it is safe for them to exercise during their pregnancy. .
While age-old myths might have placed pregnant women on a shelf of inactivity, the consensus of modern research regarding the effects of prenatal exercise on both mom and baby is overwhelmingly pro-exercise.
Prenatally, I teach childbirth classes to prepare women for the birth process. I emphasize the importance of physical, emotional, and mental self-care. This means a clean and balanced diet, regular exercise, and meditation. Because let’s face it—labor is hard—really hard! And just like you would train before running a marathon, so should you prepare for the extreme demands of labor and birth.
Regular exercise during pregnancy helps to fend off complications caused by unnecessary weight gain, such as gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure, which can lead to pre-eclampsia and pre-term birth. But there are countless other benefits to both you and your baby when you choose to be active throughout your pregnancy, here are a few:
Better Delivery— Your physical fitness now will affect your fitness for labor and delivery. The more you have strengthened your core muscles, flexibility, and cardiovascular system, the more stamina and strength you will have when the big day (or days!) arrive. Active mothers tend to have shorter deliveries, less interventions and episiotomies, and quicker recoveries.
Boost your energy— Fatigue is common during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. Find a time, or better yet, make a time every day that you can commit to boosting your energy! If the thought of an hour long trek is simply unbearable, commit to a 10-20 minute stroll around the yard or block. More likely than not, once you’re in the groove, you will want to keep going!
Endorphins? Yes, please!— Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins do all kinds of great work in your brain and help to elevate your mood, reduce stress, alleviate aches & pain, and sleep better! Having a good exercise routine helps to balance out the hormonal strains both during pregnancy and postpartum.
Stay Regular— The hormonal and physical changes that occur in your body during pregnancy often lead to constipation, swelling, and bloating. Staying active helps to alleviate these unpleasant symptoms.
Fetal Nutrients— The better your circulation is, the better the placenta will grow, and the better able your body is to deliver nutrients to your rapidly developing baby.
The more physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared you are, the more positive your birth experience will be.