For most women, exercise is safe and even recommended during pregnancy. Moderate exercise helps them improve or maintain their physical fitness and can alleviate discomfort while strengthening their bodies in preparation for labor and delivery.
If you are currently expecting, here are a few of the many benefits you will experience when exercising:
- Increased Energy: While it may seem like exercise will make you more tired, in reality, it strengthens your cardiovascular system and gives you more energy to get through the day. It also tones your muscles, so you won’t need to work as hard to do simple tasks like shopping or housework.
- Better Sleeping Habits: Pregnancy can make finding a comfortable position and falling asleep more difficult, especially in the later stages. However, physical activity expends stored energy, so you can relax enough to make sleep come more easily.
- Lower Risk of Complications: Studies have shown that women who maintain their physical fitness during pregnancy are less likely to develop conditions like gestational diabetes and decrease their risk of needing an unplanned cesarean section delivery.
- Faster Recovery After the Birth: A physically active pregnant woman will typically recover from the labor and delivery much faster, even if she has a C-section, because she has maintained her muscle tone through strength training. While exercising for weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy, staying fit can help limit excess weight gain and make it easier to get back in shape later.
- Fewer Mood Swings: Pregnancy is stressful, and many women report feelings of depression during this time. Research has shown that exercise causes your body to release endorphins that can improve mood and reduce anxiety.
It’s important to receive a physician’s approval before beginning an exercise program. As long as you are in good health, you will most likely be permitted to work out during pregnancy.