A healthy mom means a healthy home for the baby growing inside her! Here are just a few reasons why you should consider maintaining your fitness level throughout your pregnancy:
A fast recovery – In general, pregnant women who exercise recover quicker from pregnancy, labor, and childbirth, and report a lower rate of perceived exertion during labour.
A stronger heart and lungs – Consistent cardiovascular and resistance training results in a stronger cardiorespiratory system. A woman with a strong cardiorespiratory system is better able to tolerate the stresses of pregnancy, labour, and birthing.
Significantly lower rates of obstetric complications – A study by Hall and Kaufman (1986) of 845 women found that those who exercised frequently had a much lower (6.7%) cesarean section rate than those who were sedentary (28.1%) throughout their pregnancy. This is HUGE!!!
Shorter delivery time – A study by Botkin and Driscoll (1991) found that women who exercised generally had a significantly shorter during of second-stage labour (27 minutes versus 59 minutes) and a much higher incidence of uncomplicated, spontaneous delivery than their sedentary counterparts.
Helps with common symptoms – Exercise has been reported to ease common symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, leg craps, and backaches, as well as reducing excessive weight gain, constipation, digestion, and overall body discomfort.
Mental health benefits – Symptoms aside, exercising throughout your pregnancy will elevate your mood, give you more energy, and most of all reduce feelings of stress, anxiety or depression that can come with pregnancy.
Don’t wait to find out if you’re pregnant before working on your fitness! It is much easier to build the habit of exercising regularly well before your body is undergoing the changes associated with pregnancy. Do it for yourself, and for your baby!
Reference: Hyatt, G., & Cram, C. (2003). Prenatal & Postpartum Exercise Design. Tucson, AZ: Desert Southwest Fitness.