Benefits of Staying Active During Pregnancy
A healthy pregnancy means staying active
BY Courtney Hendricks, blogger, fitness advocate, mom-to-be
So you finally got the little plus sign. Congratulations…you’re pregnant! There is now a floodgate of emotions racing through your body (thanks, hormones!) at the thought of carrying (and growing) a tiny human inside you.
Once your brain wraps around the whole concept, some of you, like me, may think well great, now I’m going to gain weight and get huge. It’s an easy thought to fall prey to, but we should all stop it in its tracks. Just because you’re pregnant now doesn’t mean you don’t get to work out and be active. In fact, it’s even better to continue doing just that throughout your pregnancy. Research has shown women who remain active throughout pregnancy are much more likely to have an easier labor and delivery. Check out more reasons to keep that sweat going during your pregnancy:
- reduce lower back pain
- reduce the chance of acquiring gestational diabetes by 30 percent
- increase mood and reduce chance of depression
- enjoy less weight gain and fatigue
It’s also beneficial for your growing little one who may enjoy:
- a healthier heart with a lower resting heart rate after birth
- being born at what is considered a ‘normal’ birth weight, rather than overweight
- being born with a more mature brain and will be quicker to develop neurologically
- reduced risk of respiratory distress at birth
All of the above sounds great, right? Well in my time being pregnant, there are two very definite camps that emerge on this one. One side tends toward the “don’t lift anything; don’t strain yourself; don’t run; don’t walk fast (seriously?); etc.” My grandma, while incredibly well-meaning, told me not to reach above my head when she found out I was pregnant. Sorry Grams, not going to happen. And there’s very little medical support to back this up.
The other camp – the one I personally belong to – confirms it is okay to continue working out during pregnancy, as long as you were active prior to getting pregnant. Women who had very low activity levels and suddenly decide to enroll in a CrossFit program three times a week are the ones who may run into some trouble. Not only is your body going through A TON of changes – internally and externally – through those nine months, throwing a completely foreign cardio and weight routine into the mix can severely derail your health.
The most important thing is to listen to your body. If something feels too hard or strange, hit the pause button. Especially during your first trimester, when most women have the worst sickness and tiredness, take it easy! You may not be able to bust out your normal 7.5 mph 30 minute jog like you used to (or some of us never could, let’s be real).
The other thing to keep in mind is good nutrition, which is equally as vital to your health and baby’s development as being active. Trust me, cravings can hit hard and at the weirdest times, (who wants peanut butter and watermelon? At the same time? In the middle of the night?) but don’t feed your body junk all the time. Rule of thumb: What you eat, baby eats.
Take it from someone who has had a fairly easy pregnancy so far (heading into trimester #3 next week!), I attribute much of “easiness” to staying active during the past 6+ months and in the years prior to becoming pregnant. Growing a tiny human takes a lot of work, so don’t put any extra pressure on yourself during this time. Even getting on your feet (if you can still see them) 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes helps immensely, both during and after your pregnancy. And staying active will come in handy even more when you’re chasing that little one around all day.
Wondering what exercises are appropriate for you during your pregnancy? Contact us for a free personal training consult. We’ll discuss your current activity level and recommend some ways to stay active throughout the next nine months.
(414) 529-9900, ext. 730 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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