Added baby weight and nightly cravings may make you wonder whether or not it's OK to workout during your pregnancy. The answer to that question can be complicated and is something you should discuss with your health care provider before taking any action.
Exercise during pregnancy won't be a problem if it's something you did regularly before you were expecting. Of course, there will come a time when you'll need to modify some of the exercises you do. However, if you're considering an exercise routine as part of your pregnancy, there are some things to keep in mind.
As you've probably already guessed, dangerous sports such as mountain biking, skiing and horseback riding are off limits. You don't want to do something that can potentially send you tumbling downhill or jostle your stomach. Activities such as barre workouts or yoga – anything that keeps you stationary, really – are probably the best choice. So, if you're wondering why you should incorporating workouts to your daily schedule, we have a few surprising benefits to boost your motivation!
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy
You'll find that there are a lot of benefits for you and your baby when you choose to exercise while pregnant. These can include:
- Your baby is more likely to be developmentally advanced if you do at least 20 minutes of cardio three days a week. According to researchers at the University of Montreal, babies born to mothers who exercised showed more mature brain function than the infants of mothers who did not work out.
- Those who are worried about gaining too much weight during pregnancy will want to hear this benefit – exercising while pregnant means you're likely to gain less weight. Researchers have found that women who work out while pregnant gain 7 pounds less on average and were more likely to stay in the healthy weight-gain range. You may also help give your baby a healthier heart by exercising.
- Growing a baby inside of you takes a toll on your body, but if you exercise you'll have more energy than if you just sat on the couch binge-watching your favorite television show on Netflix. Even going on a short walk each day will help.
- Gestational diabetes is a serious concern among pregnant women, but those who work out are less likely to develop high blood sugar and Type 2 diabetes. Exercise will also benefit your baby's health since Type 2 diabetes increases the odds of delivering before your due date or having an overweight baby.
- By exercising during pregnancy, you'll help increase the chances of making labor easier on yourself and not needing outside intervention such as the use of forceps or a C-section. Active labor can be as much as two hours shorter for those who exercise, which is something you'll rejoice over once you feel the pain of this stage of labor.
Do you plan on exercising during your pregnancy? Join in the discussion below!