Nervous about exercising while pregnant? Try not to worry, for a majority of expectant mums, mild to moderate physical activity is encouraged as part of a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.
In fact, recent research has proven exercising while pregnant may have lasting benefits for babies. According to a new captivating study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, newborns may become more physically coordinated earlier than other babies, meaning their motor skills were more advanced due to the extra bouncing as their mother jogged, swam or danced compared to babies of mothers who didn't exercise regularly.
But that's not all, unbeknownst to many, exercising while pregnant is completely safe and offers several health benefits for both you and your baby.
These benefits include:
- Keeping active and fit during pregnancy increases muscle tone, stamina and strength while preparing your body for childbirth. Women who are physically fit tend to be more confident and are more likely to feel less pain when delivering their babies.
- Regular exercise promotes good circulation which can help prevent varicose veins which are very common during pregnancy while also reducing the risk of your ankles swelling, leg and back pain, constipation and even bloating.
- As exhausting as it may sound, the endorphins and feel-good hormones released during a good workout session will help improve your mood, general energy levels and will also help you manage stress better all while promoting restful sleep.
- Other benefits of staying active during pregnancy include reducing the risk of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and as your centre of gravity shifts towards the final trimester, mild to moderate exercise will help your posture and balance as your belly grows.
- Exercising promotes optimal weight gain meaning you're less likely to gain weight during the course of your pregnancy and it jumpstarts a healthy lifestyle post-delivery. Becoming a new mum can be overwhelming for some and exercising on a regular basis can help decrease the risk of developing mental health disorders such as postpartum depression.
Being physically active while pregnant does not have to be strenuous to be beneficial but it is extremely important you do warm-up and cool-down exercises, try to keep active on a daily basis, avoid exercising in hot weather, keep hydrated and it is extremely important that your exercise class instructor is fully qualified and aware of your pregnancy. You may not be able to take part in certain classes or exercises.
And remember not to overdo it or exhaust yourself when it comes to exercising. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to slow down but if you're ever in doubt or have any concerns about your pregnancy and exercising consult with your GP or midwife.