You’ve just announced your pregnancy and your great aunt insists you stop going to the gym because exercise is bad for you now. Smile and nod politely. And then put on your gym gear because there are a number of benefits to exercising during your pregnancy (unless your doctor advises you not to, of course!).
Let’s take a look at some of the awesome benefits of exercise during a pregnancy.
1. Your weight gain won’t be excessive
It’s totally normal for a pregnant woman to gain weight during her pregnancy – in fact, you’re expected to gain between 11kg and 15kg. “Usually a woman gains between 500g and 2kg in the first trimester, and around 500g for ever week thereafter, with a little more towards the end of pregnancy,” says Léanda C Retief in an article entitled What you need to know about pregnancy weight gain.
But too much weight gain is bad news for you and your baby! You’re more likely to develop gestational diabetes and to suffer complications during the delivery. And you place your baby’s health at risk too.
Plus, losing 13kg of pregnancy weight is easier than losing, say, 20kg…
2. You avoid dangerous diseases
Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are two common conditions that affect pregnant women, making their pregnancies risky (and stressful!):
- Gestational diabetes is when your blood sugar is too high. There are a number of serious associated risks for you and the baby.
- Preeclampsia raises your blood pressure (not ideal!), and causes kidney damage.
Regular exercise helps to keep both of these conditions at bay.
3. You manage pregnancy aches, pains and discomforts better
Most pregnant women suffer from back pain, a range of aches, fluid retention and constipation (if not all of them!).
Regular exercise can reduce the severity of these symptoms, helping to flush out excess fluids, keep joints mobile but strong, and maintain core strength.
Plus, it releases endorphins, which make you feel better (goodbye preggy blues!) and also boost your immune system.
4. It could shorten labour and delivery
If you don’t have physical strength and stamina (and a strong mind!), labour is impossibly tough. Regular exercise will help you build up the stamina and cardio fitness that you need during labour.
All of this means you could shorten your labour (by up to two hours, according to experts). Plus, it means you’re less likely to need a C-section, clamps, etc.
5. It benefits baby
If you’ve exercised during your pregnancy, your baby is more likely to be delivered with a healthy weight and good muscle tone. Plus, there’s a greater likelihood that she’ll have a higher IQ and better memory.
Pregnancy is NOT the best time to put your feet up and eat everything in sight…
Sure, it’s OK to give in to cravings, and indulge in a daily afternoon nap. But eating right and exercising plenty too are the best ways to have a happy, healthy pregnancy and a healthier baby. Just be sure to discuss your exercise routine with your doctor, so you understand what sort of exercise is suitable and what to avoid. (Here’s a list of exercises that are safe in pregnancy.)
And if you like the idea of helping other pregnant mommies keep fit and healthy, then maybe it’s time to enrol with Trifocus Fitness Academy, for a Comprehensive Certification in Exercise during Pregnancy. Click here to find out more.