Has anyone ever told you to exercise during pregnancy, but never told you why? Here are the top 10 benefits that break down the specifics of why prenatal training is going to help you tremendously in your pregnancy, labor and postpartum time.
1. It builds confidence.
A lot of time women feel gross during pregnancy. Extra weight gain and a changing body often times make self-esteem and self-image plummet. This is our number one reason for exercising during pregnancy because it makes women feel good overall about themselves. Not only does it help a woman with her health but also her baby and her body. It gives a pregnant woman the confidence to stand tall and know she is exercising and using her body the best way she can for herself and her baby. Exercising during pregnancy is empowering for a woman and can lead to and help continue the discipline of exercising after the birth. A woman feels strong, because she is strong. She looks great, because her body is great (it’s birthing a person, how incredible!). That confidence is catching and beautiful.
2. You’ll have more energy.
Even when you aren’t pregnant one can notice the effects of increased level of energy with exercising. The more your heart gets pumping and circulating the more energy it gives to your body, the same is true in pregnancy.
3. Labor and delivery time may be easier and quicker.
Exercising during pregnancy teaches women how to locate, feel and strengthen the muscles in their pelvic floor, core and surrounding areas. Not only does it help strengthen it, when a woman is properly trained in fitness during pregnancy, she will be taught how to relax those muscles. Learning to relax the birthing muscles is key and gives women an advantage in how to let go during the birth, relax the pelvis, and allow the baby to move easily through the birth canal without fighting for control.
4. You will most likely gain less weight.
Women who exercise during pregnancy tend to be more conscience of their eating habits and are more active. The more you are moving, the more you are keeping your heart rate up, and burning calories and energy.
5. You are more likely to avoid a C-section.
Research has found that women who exercise during pregnancy are 4 times less likely to have a c-section. As a bonus - moms who exercise are also 55% less likely to get an episiotomy and 75% less likely to have a forceps delivery.
6. You will bounce back faster after birth.
Not only physically, but also emotionally. Being active during pregnancy means socializing, getting out of the house, going for a walk, and knowing how to get moving which are all habits that will transfer over after birth. Being able to have people to call, talk to and get together with after birth all help with emotional fitness as well as physical fitness. Having a support system built by pregnancy fitness classes and mommy and me classes can continue after birth and help moms feel supported after birth when things can be emotionally taxing.
7. Helps you sleep better at night.
Working out up until right before birth helps to get energy out of your body. The more active you are the more tired you will be at night.
8. Can reduce and prevent discomforts and complications.
Many discomforts and pregnancy complications can be prevented or held at bay through proper exercising techniques. a) Gestational diabetes can be lowered as much as 27%, b) Constipation can be lessened because your body is pumping and activating your digestive system, c) Less leg swelling because blood flow is improved through exercise.
9. Teaches you to breath properly, which can be transferred into birth.
When a woman has a great trainer, she will learn how to breath deeply through her core and diaphragm, which are breathing techniques that will be transferred over into her labor and birth.
10. Less stress and worries.
Exercising during pregnancy has been shown to improve a person's mood. Anyone who exercises on a regular basis feels the negative effects of stress and worry when they go a long time without working out. On the other hand, when a person is exercising regularly she feels more at ease and usually stresses less. The same is especially true in pregnancy when there are many more hormonal ups and downs.
When starting an exercise regime during pregnancy, be sure to check with your doctor or midwife to be cleared for exercise first. If you are new to fitness or even a seasoned athlete, you may want to consider hiring a trainer to work with you throughout your pregnancy who focuses on prenatal/postpartum clients. This way they know what exercises to prescribe and you have the benefit of one on one attention as your body changes and grows a new life.