The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy will decrease weight gain, may ease the pain of delivery, lower your risk for gestational diabetes, reduce pressure on your lower back (as mentioned in a previous article), and can increase your overall energy levels during those 9 months. We’ve spoken about yoga during pregnancy, and stretching, but how important is exercise, really? Can exercise make pregnancy and labor easier? The answer; yes it can.

Mommy and Baby Benefits to Exercise

Feeling your best during pregnancy can be tough. Besides the aches and pains, there can be mood swings, cravings, and plain feeling down.

  • Endorphins: Exercise has been proven in scientific research to release endorphins; those little protein molecules that can control pain, cravings, reduce stress and make you feel good. Endorphins can be released during meditation, deep breathing, laughter, and exercise.
  • Improved Posture: According to SutterHealth.com, one of the most important contributions to a healthy pregnancy is good posture. Maintaining good posture can reduce pressure on your lower back, reduce pain and decrease fatigue. Mindful exercises that focus on the lower back and abdominal muscles will help train your back to maintain good posture throughout the pregnancy.
  • Gestational Diabetes: According to FitPregnancy.com, exercise can reduce your risk for gestational diabetes by as much as 27 percent. While genetics and age play key roles in whether you are at risk for developing gestational diabetes, you can fight batck with exercise.
  • Stress Relief: Stress can play a major role in your pain tolerance, levels of fatigue, mood, even preterm labor. A high degree of anxiety and stress can affect your baby’s health, as well as your own, contributing to a boost in risk for preterm labor and/or delivering a low-birthweight baby.  Regular exercise reduces stress, plain and simple.
  • Less Weight Gain: With regular exercise, research has shown you are more likely to gain less weight. Studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy put on 7 pounds less than those who didn’t exercise during pregnancy.
  • Increased Odds for Vaginal Birth: According to FitPregnancy.com, regular exercisers are 75 percent less likely to need a forceps delivery, 55 percent less likely to have an episiotomy and up to four times less likely to have a Cesarean section.

On top of those wonderful benefits to exercising during pregnancy, your labor might be shorter and less painful; you’ll likely experience less leg swelling, less likely to experience morning sickness, and will reap the benefits of impressed onlookers at the gym. It’s always nice to get some positive feedback when it comes to your appearance during pregnancy, and this added little benefit will help to decrease some of the self-consciousness that we all struggle with.

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