Back in the 1950’s, many doctors discouraged women from exercising during their pregnancy, because they believed it could harm the development of the baby in utero. Doctors were also concerned about the mother’s well being, as there is a higher risk of injury to women who do exercise. Pregnant women do have increased flexibility, which can cause injury during exercise, however, if the woman stays within the line of motion that she had before pregnancy, her risk of injury is low.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, it’s perfectly healthy for active women to continue to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day during their pregnancy. They also encourage women who were not previously active to start exercising when they are pregnant.
There are many benefits pregnant women can experience if they exercise during their pregnancy. Even the babies can reap the benefits too, long after the mother has given birth. There are more benefits out there, but here are the most important ones.
During the last month of pregnancy, it can be difficult for mothers to sleep through the night. The American Pregnancy Association says if you exercise regularly, but not too close to when you’re falling asleep (at least three hours before you go to bed), it will assist in tiring you out and allowing you more restful sleep.
Less Painful Delivery
Did you know active mothers tend to have shorter, less painful labors, if they engage in continuous exercise during their pregnancy? Due to the amount of energy you exert during exercise, you can build up and maintain stamina that will assist you during the birthing process including shorter first and second stages of labor. Pelvic toning can decrease episiotomies/tearing during labor. Scientific research has also shown that 75% of women who exercise regularly are less likely to need a forceps delivery, and four times less likely to need a Cesarean section.
Easier Weight Loss After Birth
A healthy, pregnant woman will gain on average between 25-35 pounds. Anything over that will make it more difficult for the mother to lose that weight after the baby is born. When a pregnant woman exercises, she will keep excess weight off and maintain muscle tone. Furthermore, the British Journal of Sports Medicine says women who exercise three times a week during their second and third trimester, can decrease the risk of their newborn being overweight later in life.
Less Chance of Constipation
When women are pregnant, their progesterone levels tend to increase; causing soon-to-be mothers left feeling uncomfortable and constipated. Regular exercise and a high fiber diet can help to combat constipation. Good foods to consume during pregnancy that are high in fiber are almonds, legumes, broccoli, collard greens, blackberries and whole grain spaghetti.
Exercise Improves your Mood
When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that make you feel happy. During pregnancy, feelings of depression can be stronger than during postpartum. By exercising, those depressive tendencies will decrease, leaving you feeling content and healthy.
- http://www.befitmom.com/exercise.html http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/exercise/