This article is aimed towards women who want to stay fit and healthy during all stages of pregnancy.
If you are a regular exerciser, fitness fanatic, haven’t exercised in a long time or even never before, exercise and fitness during your pregnancy will have lots of benefits.
A little bit about me and my story
I have been sporty and into fitness my whole life and have always been driven to keep myself in shape. The 9 months of pregnancy and post birth recovery is 100% the most body altering experience I have ever been through. Though it can’t have been that bad first time round as I have now gone on to have 3 beautiful children, which I am very grateful for. The recovery after each child did become harder and longer but each time I had the one pair of jeans, I call them ‘my feeling skinny jeans’, that I had to get back into. After my first child it took me 2 weeks post birth to fit back into them. It did take a little longer after my second child and longer again after my third but I can categorically say that staying fit and exercising during my pregnancy helped my achieve this. Fitting back into ‘my skinny jeans’ aside, I had 3 natural uncomplicated labours with no pain relief and exercise and fitness definitely helped me achieve this.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Boost your energy
Pregnancy can sap your energy, especially in the first trimester with bouts of morning sickness. However, regular exercise will help you get through your day and your demanding schedule if you’re still at work or have other little ones to look after. Exercise also strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you don’t tire as easily.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), says “you can safely take part in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise every day, as long as you don’t have a medical condition or complication that your doctor or midwife has told you rules out exercise or limits your activity level.” So always consult a doctor before undertaking exercise in pregnancy.
As your pregnancy develops, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge. Exercise can help burn off excess energy and help lull you into a deeper sleep, as well as relieving stress and anxiety that can keep you awake at night.
Reduce pregnancy discomfort
The discomfort can come in many forms – from back ache to constipation. Exercise can help your body cope better with the aches and pains of pregnancy.
By strengthening and toning the muscles in your back, bum and thighs, you can improve your posture and relieve backache.
Reduce constipation by staying active and exercising. This will help stimulate your bowels which will lead to improved digestion. Certain yoga positions can also help keep constipation at bay.
Prepare for childbirth
The fitter, stronger and healthier you are, the better prepared for labour you will be. Controlled breathing can help you manage pain, increased endurance can help in the event of a long labour and a stronger core can help during delivery.
Reduce stress and feel better about yourself!
Pregnancy changes your body in so many ways which can leave you feeling down, anxious and stressed. But don’t worry, be happy! Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, which are those feel good chemicals that can lift your mood and give you that natural high.
Exercise can also keep the scales in line and stop those numbers increasing too high which in turn will help improve your self image.
Post birth recovery!
This can be the number one motivator for some women to exercise during pregnancy. Fitting into your favourite pair of jeans post childbirth rather than wishing them on is a common goal. By exercising during your pregnancy you’re able to maintain your strength and muscle tone, giving your body a better chance of bouncing back. You will also gain less weight during your pregnancy which will help with your post-partum weight loss.
Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting exercise programme and listen to your body! If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Good luck x