Exercise in pregnancy is soooo good for both you & your unborn baby. To demonstrate just how important exercise in pregnancy is I have created the following list of evidence-based benefits. I hope this information educates & inspires you to start exercising during your pregnancy 🙂
But before you hop to you should always consult your pregnancy healthcare provider (e.g. Obstetrician, Doctor or Midwife) to make sure it is safe for you.
How Exercise in Pregnancy Benefits You:
1. Improves mood.
2. Reduces anxiety.
3. Increases energy levels.
4. Reduces fatigue.
5. Improves sleep.
6. May help alleviate nausea.
7. Helps control maternal weight gain & fat deposition.*
8. Reduces risk of maternal-fetal diseases:
- Gestational diabetes**
- Pre-term birth
9. Improves body image & self-esteem.
10. Improves fitness levels.
11. Improves muscle strength & tone.
12. Helps to reduce low back pain.
13. Improves pain tolerance.
14. Reduces leg swelling & cramps.
15. Reduces varicosity (swollen veins).
16. May help alleviate general discomfort late in pregnancy.
17. Improves bowel regularity.
18. May facilitate labour at a higher gestational age.
19. Facilitates an active labour.
20. May reduce length of labour & intervention in delivery.
21. May reduce the incidence of caesarian section.
22. Improves your recovery post birth.
23. Establishes healthy habits to exercise in postpartum & beyond.
*Excessive weight gain in pregnancy has been linked to weight retention post-baby and the development of obesity in women & their offspring.
**Gestational diabetes has been linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity of the child later in life.
How Exercise in Pregnancy Benefits Your Unborn Baby:
1. Decrease in fetal resting heart rate.
2. Increase in viability of placenta.
3. Increase in amniotic fluid levels.
4. May improve neurodevelopment.
5. May lower birth weight (within optimal range).
WHAT A LIST!!!! The motivation to start moving your body is right before your eyes!
The best advice I can give women who want to have a baby one day – is to start exercising NOW, before you fall pregnant. Not only will this benefit your health & wellbeing right now, but you will be in a much better state to enter pregnancy as you can maintain a level of fitness.
If you are currently pregnant, it is never too late to start. Exercise is one highly beneficial, easily accessible undertaking you can to do to optimize your health & wellbeing, and that of your unborn bub.
If you know someone who is pregnant & would benefit from reading this post, then please do her a big favour & share this link.
Click here to find out HOW to Safely Exercise In Pregnancy!
Downs et al (2012) Physical activity and pregnancy: past present evidence and future recommendations. Res Q Exerc Sport 83: 485-502.
Gaston A, Cramp A (2011) Exercise during pregnancy: A review of patterns and determinants. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 14: 299–305.
Mottola MF (2009) Exercise prescription for overweight and obese women: pregnancy and postpartum. Obstetrics and Gynecology 36: 301–316.
Moyer C, Reoyo O, May L (2016) The influence of prenatal exercise on offspring health: a review. Clinical Medicine Insights Womens Health 9: 37-42.
Paisley t, Joy E, Price R (2003) Exercise during pregnancy: a practical approach. Current Sports Medicine Reports 2: 325–330.
Prather H, Spitznagle T, Hunt d (2012) Benefits of exercise during pregnancy. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 4: 845-850.
Price B, Amini S, Kappeler K (2012) Exercise in pregnancy: effect on fitness and obstetric outcomes – a randomized trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 44: 2263–69.
Wolfe L and Weissgerber T (2003) Clinical physiology of exercise in pregnancy: a literature review. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada 25: 473-483.