Exercise during pregnancy: Benefits

Benefits of exercise during pregnancy

Maintaining a regular exercise regimen through your pregnancy will ensure that you stay healthy and feeling your best. Regular exercising will also help improve your posture and will decrease common pregnancy related complaints like back aches and tiredness. It is proven to reduce instances of gestational diabetes, relieve stress, and build the strength

Exercise during pregnancy has been found to have the following benefits:

  1. Reduce risk of pregnancy complications: Women who exercise 4 times a week are less likely to develop gestational diabetes and less likely to have unplanned C- sections than those who didn’t.
  2. Lower odds of delivery complications: Women who exercised thrice a week gained less weight and were less likely to have big babies.
  3. Quicker post-delivery recovery: The more you increase your pregnancy fitness, the faster you'll recover physically after childbirth, the more fit you'll be after delivery.
  4. Boost your mood: Research has found that exercise during pregnancy reduces depression, releasing endorphins that help improve mood while diminishing stress and anxiety.
  5. Lower blood pressure: While blood pressure can go up during pregnancy occasionally, too much increase can be a warning sign of preeclampsia. Staying active — simply walking regularly for instance— has been found to keep blood pressure stable.
  6. Ease back and pelvic pain: It’s no secret that your growing baby bump puts extra pressure on your lower half, resulting in lower back pain and an achy pelvis. Exercising will reduce that.
  7. Fight fatigue: Getting too much rest (from pregnancy) can actually make you feel more pooped. So while you should never push yourself to exhaustion, a little nudge can make a big difference in your energy level.
  8. Improve sleep. Exercise can boost your sleep. It tires you out after giving you an initial boost of endorphins. Exercise regulates your sleep very sell and even women who have trouble falling asleep during pregnancy find that exercise can help.
  9. Relieve constipation: Being on the go helps you “go”.

Is it safe for me to exercise during pregnancy?

Doctors recommend that doing what exercise you can while you’re pregnant as a great way to have the healthiest (and most comfortable) pregnancy possible.

If you were physically active before you conceived, it should be absolutely fine to continue with your regular exercises with modifications as necessary. You could even exercise at your pre-pregnancy levels, as long as you are comfortable and your doctor is on board with it. For example, low impact aerobics are better when compared with high impact ones. Try not to let your heart rate go in excess of 140 beats per minute while exercising.

What Pregnancy exercises should be avoided?

Despite the many benefits of exercising during pregnancy, there are some that should be avoided as they could be harmful. Some of these are:

  • Holding breath for any amount of time
  • Activities where you could encounter a fall, like horse-riding or rollerblading
  • High contact sports such as soccer or basketball
  • Any exercise which causes you to engage in sudden, jerky movements
  • Exercises that need you to jump, hop and skip
  • Sit-ups or too much stretching
  • Exercises where you need to lie on your back for more than 3 minutes.
  • Exercising in extremely hot or humid weather conditions
  • Scuba diving