Benefits of Exercise during pregnancy

Pregnancy is not an excuse to sit back on the couch. The benefits to keeping fit while pregnant are endless. Related article: Baby bumps and Barbells 

1. You’re likely to gain less weight. Research shows you might put on 3-5 kgs less than pregnant women who don’t work out, while still staying within the healthy weight-gain range. 

2. Labour and delivery may be easier. Strong abs and a fit cardiovascular system can give you more power and stamina for the pushing stage or delivery. One study found that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58 percent less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers!!!

3. You lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27 percent. High blood sugar during pregnancy puts you at extremely high risk for developing type II diabetes in the decade after delivering and raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby. If you do develop it—and many fit women do because genetics and age play a significant role—exercise may help prevent or delay your need for insulin or other medications.

4. Happy Mum happy Baby. Active mums- to-be report better moods than their sedentary peers, both immediately following a workout and in general throughout their pregnancies.

5. Strength and Spin Support. Some two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain, but water workouts, yoga and pelvic tilts can offer relief. Exercise during the second half of pregnancy seems to be especially helpful.

6. You’re less likely to get constipated. Pregnant women’s intestinal tracts often get backed up due to high progesterone levels and a growing uterus, but exercise, along with a high-fiber diet, keeps your digestive system humming.

7. You have more energy. Some days, you just don’t have it, but even just a brisk 10 minute walk can bring you right!

8. You’re more likely to avoid a forceps delivery, C-section or other intervention. Regular exercisers are 75 percent less likely to need a forceps delivery, 55 percent less likely to have an episiotomy and up to four times less likely to have a Cesarean section, research has found.

9. Your labour may be shorter. A study found that among well-conditioned women who delivered vaginally, those who had continued training throughout their pregnancy experienced active labor for 4 hours and 24 minutes compared with 6 hours and 22 minutes for those who’d quit training early on. Two hours less of hard labor sounds great to me!

10. You’ll likely experience less leg swelling. Your body retains more fluid during pregnancy, and your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins, impairing the return of blood to your heart. Exercise can limit swelling by improving blood flow.

11. You may boost your child’s athletic potential. One study found that 20-year-olds who were exposed to exercise in utero performed better at sports than same age peers whose mothers did not exercise during pregnancy.

12. You’ll bounce back faster after delivery. Compared with new mums who were inactive during pregnancy, those who exercised are more likely to socialise and enjoy hobbies and entertainment post-baby. They just seem to cope better with the demands of new motherhood.

13. Your child may have a healthier heart. The developing babies of prenatal exercisers have more efficient hearts than those of non-exercisers, and this higher cardio fitness level seems to last into the childhood years.

14. Better sleep. Some pregnant women who work out say they fall asleep faster, slumber more soundly and snooze longer than inactive mums-to-be.

15. You’re more likely to avoid prenatal depression. This is especially true if you exercise outdoors because bright light has antidepressant effects. Some 12 percent to 20 percent of pregnant women experience depression, which is linked to poor sleep and marital problems after delivery.

16. You keep your immune system humming. Moderate exercise such as walking lowers your risk of catching a cold by as much as half. Researchers believe the data applies to exercising mums-to-be as well.