This is a weekly contributor post from Victoria of Yogi Mami. Enjoy!
Regular involvement in prenatal exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga help to release endorphins, strengthen muscles and improve circulation. Working out during pregnancy has also been attributed to improved self-image, reduced stress, better sleep and regaining muscle tone after the antenatal period.
The frequency of prenatal exercise is more important than the intensity of the workout so unless advised by your healthcare practitioner to avoid exercising it is recommended during all three trimesters. If you are looking to keep you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy, diet and exercise are the key to prenatal well-being. Here are 5 reasons why you should have a daily prenatal exercise regimen, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day.
5 Reasons Prenatal Exercise Is Important
1. Tones Birthing Muscles and Prepares For Labor
Exercising such as yoga, pilates, walking and swimming help to tone the legs, buttocks, abdomen, lower back and pelvic floor muscles that are used during labor. A well structured prenatal exercise regimen gives you an advantage during labor which is one of the most physically and mentally challenging experiences for a woman’s body.
2. Relieves Pregnancy Discomforts
Pregnancy brings along with it many symptoms such as headaches, morning sickness, joint pain and insomnia. While these elements can be out of the woman’s control, there is a way that the mother-to-be can prepare to have an enjoyable pregnancy and manageable labor. Prenatal exercise offers expectant mothers spiritual, mental and physical comfort during both pregnancy and labor, which is beneficial on this life-changing journey.
3. Results in a Healthier Pregnancy
Regular exercise during pregnancy lowers chances of gestational diabetes in women who are predisposed. Prenatal exercise also helps to keep birth weight down, reduce the chances of hypertension and preeclampsia compared to mothers who were sedentary. For centuries pregnant women were treated as if they were suffering from illness and told to minimize exertion, bending and stretching to avoid injuring the baby. Recently OBGYN’s ideas have changed and prenatal exercise is not only viewed as safe, but recommended.
4. Babies Have Higher IQ
Just in case you need another reason to workout during pregnancy, research is showing that women who engage in moderate, daily exercise have children with a higher IQ. This is wonderful news for mothers who wish to give their children the best start at life.
5. Faster Postpartum Recovery Time
Because prenatal exercise helps to reduce pregnancy complications, improves circulation and tones muscles used in birth, it also helps to shorten the recovery time. Studies show that women who exercise regularly during pregnancy find it easier to return to their pre-pregnancy condition after childbirth.
Prenatal exercise can make pregnancy and labor easier and more enjoyable. After receiving clearance from your provider, consult a qualified fitness instructor who has experience working with pregnant women. Making the decision to engage in prenatal exercises is a choice that will improve the health and lifestyle of both you and your baby. You can join a prenatal class in your area or workout in the comfort of your own home with videos such as prenatal yoga (where to buy) or prenatal fitness with kettle bells (where to buy).
Did you exercise when you were pregnant? What was your favorite way to stay in shape while pregnant?