The Many Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

I am finally in my second trimester of pregnancy at 14 weeks. Overall, I have felt great but have had some bouts of nausea, especially after drinking water. I was also very tired, but I found that if I got on the treadmill, my exhaustion seemed to dissipate a bit.

My mood has definitely improved from really grouchy and sluggish to a smile here and there, and a little more energy (which my husband and 3-year-old daughter appreciate).

Increased Energy

Exercising at moderate-intensity for at least 30 minutes at a minimum of 3 days a week during pregnancy brings so many benefits for the mom and the baby.

One great benefit of exercise is mood improvement. I found that I was much more patient and didn’t feel quite as tired if I had just exercised. It also gives me energy to do household tasks.

One Hot and Healthy Mama

Another benefit is feeling better about my appearance. It isn’t easy for most people to gain weight. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love being pregnant and wouldn’t change it for the world, but being in the health and wellness profession, I have always been conscious of my weight. So getting on the treadmill increases my self-esteem.

Other benefits of exercise for the expectant mom found in the study “Healthy Pregnant Women Should Exercise” are:

  • Back pain relief
  • Improvement of musculoskeletal functions
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decreased depression
  • Reduced swelling
  • Boosts energy
  • Sleep better
  • Prepare for childbirth
  • Get your body back faster after childbirth 

One important note: pregnant woman need to check with their obstetrics doctor before starting an exercise program. Although studies show that exercise is safe for pregnant women, even if they haven’t exercised before pregnancy, a doctor’s approval prior to starting an exercise routine is strongly recommended.

Good for the Baby

In the same study, “Healthy Pregnant Women Should Exercise”,  the benefits of exercise for the baby are outlined and include:

  • Improved cardiovascular health (for at least the first month of life)
  • Better autonomic nervous system – involuntary activities:
    • Heartbeat
    • Blood pressure
    • Breathing rate
  • Tolerate labor better

I have done pretty well with walking for 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week; but, I have to admit that I have fallen off the wagon a time or two for various reasons. Reading the above study really confirmed that exercise is a key component of the good health of my baby and exercise should be a priority.

Do you have a favorite activity that you do or have done during pregnancy? If so, I would love to hear and possibly give it a try.

Photo credit: Lady Pain

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  1. All pregnant women should strengthen their deepest abdominal muscle, the Transverse Abdominis, or TvA, to prevent common pregnancy related complaints and complications such as diastasis recti (abdominal separation), back pain, and pelvic instability. As an added benefit, because the TvA is the primary expulsion muscle, maintaining strength in this muscle greatly aids in the pushing phase of labor. Two safe TvA exercises for pregnancy can be found at:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cdSxWvF06g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkTlpSCmJyY
    BeFit-Mom

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