Pregnancy is truly a wonderful experience, and one of the joys of this magnificent time is the ability to exercise. Pregnant women benefit from exercising in their third trimester more than ever, as it prepares them for labor, helps to improve their overall health and well-being, while they’re also pregnant and brings a sense of body confidence that cannot be matched by any other activity.
The third trimester is the time when most pregnant women will start to experience pelvic pain, particularly when they are walking or sitting. It can be very difficult to exercise during pregnancy in your third trimester because it becomes increasingly difficult to move around due to swelling and weight gain. Exercising during pregnancy can help provide added energy and support for your growing baby. It can also help ease some of the discomforts associated with pregnancy, such as back pain and fatigue, by helping to improve circulation and relieve muscle tension. It’s important to start slowly and build up gradually so you don’t overwork yourself or cause injury. Once you’re used to exercising regularly, it’s easy to stay active throughout the rest of your pregnancy.
It’s an exciting and challenging time when you are expecting. While you might not feel like hitting the gym full force with your growing belly, exercise during pregnancy can be a health boost for expecting moms. From shorter labor times, to helping you get a good night’s sleep; regular exercise during pregnancy offers a host of benefits for you and your baby.
Some moms-to-be may be confused by this… wait, aren’t I supposed to move less now that I’m pregnant? And while it’s true that in the past, pregnant women were warned against exerting themselves, things have changed since then. Exercise during pregnancy is actually encouraged by doctors to help maintain your health now and during delivery.
You might be thinking there’s no way you have the time to exercise when pregnant, especially while working and chasing other kiddos. But research shows that even short intervals of exercise can be just as effective. Many moms have raved about this 10 Minute Solution pregnancy workout.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why exercise during pregnancy is such a win for you and your baby.
Benefits Of Exercise During Pregnancy
Reduced Risk of Complications:
Engaging in moderate fitness activities, as little as four times a week, can reduce the risk for gestational diabetes by as much as 27% and lower the risk of unplanned C-sections. Pregnant exercisers are also less likely to have macrosomic babies, i.e. babies weighing more than 9 pounds at birth. As you can imagine, this can make your final trimester and delivery a little easier.
Smooth Delivery and Recovery:
Thanks in part to helping moms maintain strength and muscle tone, women who exercise during pregnancy tend to have shorter labor and recovery times than non-exercisers. Keeping muscles toned can also reduce pregnancy-related aches and pains. Plus, let’s be honest, giving birth requires strength and stamina. Both of these qualities are enhanced by exercise.
Fitpregnancy.com reports that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58% less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers. An added bonus? A shorter post-labor recovery time will allow you to bond and play with your baby sooner, so it’s a definite win-win.
One great way to tone your muscles while helping your baby get in good position for delivery is to utilize a fitness stability ball.
Improved Mood and Low Fatigue:
Women are more susceptible to depression during pregnancy. It is estimated that nearly 50% of all pregnant women go through some form of depression or anxiety while expecting, which can adversely affect your baby’s health. Research indicates that exercise during pregnancy allows your body to release relaxing endorphins that can boost your mood. This may help stave off some of the signs of depression.
Furthermore, a basic activity like walking or prenatal yoga can give you an energy boost. Getting in a little physical activity makes you feel more active and awake. It may help reduce pregnancy fatigue.
If the benefits listed above weren’t enough to get you up and moving, there’s more. Women who exercise during pregnancy report other advantages including reduced back pain, less constipation, reduced leg swelling, and less weight gain. Plus, you might make some new mommy friends in your prenatal class that become part of your support system after the baby is born, which is a real blessing to have.
One important note – Before beginning any exercise program, even one specifically designed for pregnancy, get your doctor’s approval first. A number of risk factors may contraindicate certain exercises and require you to take it a little easier. Your doctor can work with you to help you decide which activities are right for you and your individual pregnancy. This way you can enjoy the many benefits of exercise during pregnancy, safely.
This exercise video is perfect for all pregnant women. It has been designed to help with your pregnancy and make sure you are taking care of yourself. The 3rd trimester of pregnancy is the final and most rapid period of fetal growth and development. Your body is working hard, carrying a baby that weighs more than four pounds, so it’s important to stay healthy and safe. Pregnancy symptoms during this time include leg cramps, swelling, leg numbness and varicose veins. You might feel tired or have trouble sleeping because your fetus is growing so quickly. Learn how adapt your daily routine to take care of your health during this important time period.
Remember that you’re doing all this exercise to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Exercise when you can, because it will help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve circulation in your legs. But even if you can’t do major workouts, any movement is better than none at all.
Does Exercise During Pregnancy Help The Baby
Exercise during pregnancy can help the baby to grow stronger and develop its muscles. It also helps the mother to gain weight and become more physically fit. This reduces stress and helps her cope better with labour, making the experience easier. Regular exercise during pregnancy improves cardiovascular health of both mother and baby, reducing their chances for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and other problems related to obesity after pregnancy. Exercise can help your baby’s health, plus it can make you stronger and more comfortable during pregnancy. And there’s no better time to start than right now!
Exercise during pregnancy can have a positive impact on the baby. If a mother-to-be exercises regularly, it helps improve circulation, reduce stress and lower her risk for mood swings. Additionally, exercise helps prepare a pregnant woman’s body for labor and delivery by building muscle tone. In fact, in one study researchers found that women who engaged in light exercise at least three times a week were 37 percent less likely to need an epidural or pain medication compared with those who did not engage in any physical activity.
The scientists began by recruiting 71 healthy, pregnant women, most in their first trimester, and carrying a single baby. They randomly divided these volunteers into two groups, one of which continued with their normal routines, as a control.
The others began exercising, reporting to the university physiology lab three times a week, for supervised, 50-minute sessions of moderate exertion. There, they jogged, walked briskly, rode stationary bicycles or joined aerobics classes, depending on their preferences, balance and comfort as their pregnancies progressed.
The sessions continued until each woman gave birth.
All of the mothers, in both groups, delivered healthy, normal-weight infants.
A month after each birth, mother and child returned to the lab, where a pediatric physical therapist completed a standard exam of the babies’ reflexes and motor skills, testing how well they controlled their heads while lying down, made a fist, rolled over, thrust out their arms, and otherwise reacted and moved.
The results were consistent. Babies whose mothers had exercised tended to perform better on almost all of the tests, suggesting that their motor skills were more advanced. These gains were especially notable among girls, who usually lag slightly behind boys at this age. But baby girls from the exercise group displayed the same relatively advanced physical capabilities as the boys in that group and more coordination than boys in the control group.
None of these variations were glaring. Every infant was healthy, with normal motor development. But the babies who had bounced along as their mothers jogged or danced were slightly ahead of the others in their ability to grip, jostle and control how they rolled.
This accelerated motor development “might encourage those children,” over subsequent months and years, to be more active than youngsters whose coordination lags, Dr. May says.
The researchers did not control for home life, though, so it is possible that the mothers who exercised during pregnancy also engaged and played more with their newborns later. In that case, the improvements in motor skills would have occurred after birth and not in utero. (The researchers did consider and account for breastfeeding, which also affects physical development.)
The study also cannot tell us how maternal exercise might have goosed unborn babies’ physical skills, if it did. Perhaps the infants received more blood, oxygen and nutrients through the placenta when their mothers exercised, affecting their brain and nervous system development, Dr. May says. Or the babies’ bodies might have sensed maternal exertions and released growth hormones and other biochemicals of their own that sped up the development of their motor cortexes.
Dr. May and her colleagues plan to delve into those issues in future studies.
But for now, she says, the study’s results suggest that pregnant women who exercise — assuming they are healthy and have clearance from their doctor — might amplify their baby’s nascent aptitude for and interest in movement.
Exercise is excellent for helping to prepare your body for childbirth and for assisting with the recovery process afterward. It also helps to prevent pregnancy-related conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.