When your body continues to grow, it may seem counterproductive to workout. This could not be any further from the truth. Working out (safely) while you are pregnant is extremely beneficial for both expecting mom and baby. You may be a little bigger than usual, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on exercise all-together. Here are five benefits to adding prenatal workouts to your new routine.
#1: Improved mood. Working out improves your mood – pregnant or not pregnant. When your hormones are running rampant and you are feeling off, working out can help calm any anxieties or agitation. Endorphins are released during a workout which will help alleviate any stress weighing down your mood. Plus, you will feel more confident after working up a sweat than sitting on the couch.
#2: Reduce back or hip pain. Many pregnant women experience back, hip, or pelvic pain during pregnancy, especially as they get further along. Light exercise can help keep your body limber and in optimal condition.
#3: Reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. Those who exercise may reduce their risk of gaining too much pregnancy weight, gestational diabetes, or having an unplanned caesarean section.
#4: Improve your sleep. Pregnant women are notorious for falling out of a healthy sleeping routine. With all the changes going on in your body, not to mention the sudden kicks and jabs in the middle of the night, you may find that sleeping it much harder than ever. Between trying to get comfortable and having to pee often, insomnia is not uncommon. When you continue to exercise during your pregnancy, you will use up some of that energy and have an easier and better chance of falling asleep at a reasonable hour. Just remember to try and exercise in the morning or during the day. Exercising before bed can actually have a reverse effect and energize you too close to bedtime.
#5: Quicker postpartum recovery. If you keep up with exercising during your pregnancy, you will undoubtedly shed the extra pounds much quicker than those who were sedentary. Since you will be more physically fit to begin with, it will be much easier for you to pick up where you left off, even after having the baby.
There are plenty of safe exercise routines for expecting mothers. The key is to never push yourself further than what is comfortable. It is very important that you only do exercises that your body is used to doing (rather than trying new things). For instance, if you were a runner before becoming pregnant, it is safe for you to take light runs or jogs around the neighborhood. If you find that you were not very active, it may be best to only incorporate some light stretching, walking, or light prenatal yoga. As long as you do not over-exert yourself, exercising should feel comfortable and safe.
If you have any specific questions about exercising, never hesitate to reach out to your own professional doctor. They will be able to guide you during this exciting time.