We all know that exercise is good for us. It prevents us from gaining weight and keeps us looking fit and trim.
It also helps prevent major health issues like heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis and more. It can even guard against some types of cancer.
It’s also well known that exercise boosts our energy, improves our mood, and helps us sleep better.
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The Biggest question asked about Fitness and Pregnancy
But once a woman becomes pregnant, it seems that they are bombarded with questions.
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? And could exercising harm the baby?
I have even heard pregnant women tell me that they were urged by family and friends to stop exercising for the babies sake.
Even if this is not the case, pregnancy starts taking its toll and all we want to do is lie in bed and take it easy. The thought of getting up and jumping around, breathing hard, getting all sweaty and tired is just not appealing.
However, exercise is usually considered safe during pregnancy and has so many benefits for both mama and baby.
The rewards are absolutely worth it.
Exercise during pregnancy has several specific benefits that help to combat some of the most common negative side effects of pregnancy.
By the way. If you want to make fitness super easy during pregnancy, you have to check out my friend Katie’s Belly only pregnancy program. It is amazing!
She makes it easy to figure out what to eat that will nourish you and your baby, and help you get fit during pregnancy and protect your body from damage caused by gaining too much weight during pregnancy.
Exercise Improves Circulation
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases by almost 50%, and all that extra blood needs to flow efficiently through the exact same arteries and veins. As you can imagine, this causes quite a strain on the circulatory system.
Exercise improves circulation and makes the entire cardiovascular system more efficient, which increases your endurance and stamina. It increases your oxygen uptake, which can help with the exhaustion common during pregnancy.
It also helps control blood pressure and prevents pregnancy issues like gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.
The benefits of a more efficient circulatory system also extend to the blood vessels, which become stronger and more elastic.
This can help to prevent varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the legs and ankles due the settling of blood in the legs.
Improves Efficiency of Bodily Systems
Pregnancy taxes all bodily systems, not just the circulation.
Hormones and digestion, in particular, are under a significant amount of stress and may not be functioning at their best.
Exercise improves the efficiency of these systems by helping to regulate and balance various hormones, which can in turn alleviate symptoms like moodiness, irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue, hot flashes, anxiety and more.
Exercise also improves the entire digestive process, which can prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
Improves Joint and Muscle Function During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is not without its favorable side effects, one of which is the release of the hormone relaxin. As its name implies, this hormone relaxes the muscles, joints and ligaments – and who wouldn’t love to be a little more flexible?
Relaxin’s primary function is to allow your pelvis, hips and back to shift as necessary to accommodate your growing belly, and to allow the cervix to soften and widen at the time of delivery.
The problem with all this extra flexibility is that your muscles and joints may not necessarily be ready to handle it. In the second and third trimesters, you may find that your sense of balance is compromised.
This, coupled with your loosened joints, may increase the likelihood of injury due to a fall. You may also be more likely to suffer a torn muscle or ligament in an attempt to keep from falling.
Regular exercise improves strength and balance, which decreases the risk of injury due to weakness and imbalance. It also prevents the all too common pregnancy back pain and helps to prepare you for the physically draining experience of labor and delivery.
Improves Your Mood, Focus, and Sleep
It’s no secret that pregnancy can cause mood swings and trouble sleeping, as well as mental fog and forgetfulness, also known as “baby brain”.
Exercise releases endorphins, which can do wonders for your emotional stability and overall sense of wellbeing. Regular exercise can also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, in addition to alleviating many of the discomforts of pregnancy that keep you tossing and turning.
By increasing blood flow, oxygen uptake, and serotonin in the brain, exercise can increase your mental clarity and enable you to maintain focus for longer periods without becoming distracted or mentally fatigued.
Improves Recovery Time
Engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy prevents excess weight gain, which makes it easier to get back in shape after baby arrives. Your increased energy and stamina will allow you to return to your normal activities much more quickly after delivery.
Maintaining a consistent pregnancy exercise routine improves circulation, which helps speed tissue healing after delivery meaning you recover postpartum faster and easier. Exercise also improves your strength and balance, so that you’re less likely to re-injure yourself during the healing process.
Keep in mind the preceding benefits any time you find yourself lacking the motivation to get up and get moving!
Update* I’m so excited that my friend Katie is finally offering a program for pregnant mama’s! Her program, The Belly only Pregnancy Program is AWESOME! I was already a huge fan of her postpartum recovery program. But I’m super excited she has one available for pregnant mom’s too!
I personally gained quite a bit of weight during my first pregnancy and had no idea the toll it would take on my body after. Her program is designed to help you stay at a healthy weight and strengthen your pelvic muscles (hello easier birth!) and prevent things like diastasis recti. (<– which happens to a lot of new moms, including me!)
Anyway, it’s great, she’s great. You cannot go wrong with a program like this. It’s great for you and your baby! Go check it out mama!
Other Pregnancy Articles You’ll Like
- 5 Key Reasons You Should Be Exercising During Pregnancy
- Best Pregnancy Workouts for a Healthy, Fit Pregnancy
- 8 Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
- Pregnancy Pilates | Can it help you have a better labor?
- Walking During Pregnancy for an Easier Labor
- Why You Should Be Doing Pelvic Floor Exercises During Pregnancy
- Running During Pregnancy | Is it safe?