Feeling your best during pregnancy can be tough. Besides the aches and pains, there can be mood swings, cravings, and plain feeling down. Exercise may be the last thing on your mind, however, a growing body of research suggests that exercise has major benefits when you’re pregnant.
Your ObGyn provider might advise you not to exercise if you have:
- Some forms of heart and lung disease
- Preeclampsia or pregnancy-related high blood pressure
- Cervical problems
- Persistent vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester
- Placenta problems
- Preterm labor
- A multiple pregnancy at risk of preterm labor
- Premature rupture of the membranes
- Severe anemia
Furthermore, stop exercising and contact your ObGyn provider if you have vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headaches, increased shortness of breath prior to exercise, chest pain, painful uterine contractions , vaginal fluid leakage, calf pain or swelling, or muscle weakness affecting balance.
The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is low-risk, it’s safe to continue or start physical activity. For most pregnant women, 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercise is recommended for up to seven days per week. Benefits include:
Reduced Back Pain
Pregnancy stretches and exercises for the back can help ease backaches and help you feel your best, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
Constipation is a common, unpleasant part of pregnancy. However, being active can help prevent pregnancy constipation.
A Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia, and Cesarean Birth
Exercise before and during pregnancy reduces your risk for gestational diabetes. While genetics and age play key roles in whether you are at risk for developing gestational diabetes, you can fight back with exercise.
Exercise could also decrease preeclampsia risk by lowering blood pressure, oxidative stress, and resting heart rate.
Exercise can prepare your body for an easier – and possibly quicker – delivery. According to research, moderate-intensity exercise performed throughout pregnancy was associated with a 15 percent reduction in the rate of cesarean deliveries. Therefore, exercise in an uncomplicated pregnancy is not only safe but can also improve chances of vaginal birth.
Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy will help you gain the right amount of weight for your body.
Improved Overall Fitness
Physical activity improves cardiovascular health and encourages optimal performance, endurance, and strength with the management of disease, fatigue, and stress and reduced sedentary behavior.
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.
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.
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.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Women’s Health Arizona. As Arizona’s largest ObGyn group, we’re trained and solely dedicated to delivering the best ObGyn experience in convenient and comfortable settings around Phoenix.