Are you pregnant? Are you lying on the sofa watching an episode of Law & Order whilst eating something sugary? PUT THE CHOCOLATE DOWN! All joking aside, this was me for a time during my first pregnancy. I had very odd cravings for Maltesers, so it would usually be those at hand when I was watching Law & Order SVU.
I don’t know about you, but when I was in the first weeks of my pregnancy, my energy levels dropped to an all time low. I pretty much wanted to sleep all of the time. Working long days, long hours with little sleep I didn’t know how I would cope for three months minimum, feeling like this.
I have always loved to exercise and lead an active life and certainly didn’t plan on giving this up at a time when I needed as much physical strength and endurance as possible. It took a couple of weeks to get over the worst bout of sickness, but when I started to dip back into exercising I felt so much better and like my normal self again.
There are so many benefits to exercising whilst pregnant (for low risk pregnancies). I wanted to explore a few of these to share with you and promote this amongst expectant mothers.
- Increase Your Energy Levels
When you are pregnant, your growing baby absorbs much of the nutrients from the food you consume. Couple this with first trimester morning sickness & food intolerances, and you have one tired mummy. Regular exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you will be able to keep going for longer and with less energy needed to perform day-to-day tasks. The more you put in, the more you will get out.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of getting gestational diabetes & preeclampsia. Of course, those that develop these conditions should speak with a medical professional before starting exercise.
In women who develop gestational diabetes, regular exercise can make an important difference: One major study found that when women with gestational diabetes exercised moderately three times a week, their risk of having a macrosomic (very large) baby was reduced by 58 percent, which led to a 34 percent lower risk of a cesarean delivery.
3. Prepare You For The Demands Of Labour
Labour itself can last anywhere from 10 minutes to days. It is an extremely exhaustive process (with a great end result), which requires stamina and high levels of energy. Strengthening your muscles and increasing your stamina helps to prepare your body for what lies ahead. Additional flexibility achieved through exercise can greatly help in the latter part of labour, when your body is under greater duress.
It has been extensively documented, that exercise reduces our stress levels, providing an outlet for our anxiety and frustration. Any pregnant lady will tell you, these feelings are commonplace throughout pregnancy. An increase in the levels of serotonin,( a chemical found in the brain) also helps to boost positivity. Even the process of engaging in exercise in a group with other like-minded individuals can boost your confidence and ease stress.
5. Help To Get Your Pre-Baby Body Back
The myth that you are ‘eating for two’ when pregnant, has long since been debunked. We now know this to definitively not the case. Exercising during pregnancy strengthens and tones your muscles, as it does during any other period of activity. Not only this, chances are, if you are exercising, you are also eating more healthily, which will all assist in keeping your weight at a healthy level.
There are many other known benefits of exercise during pregnancy which you can explore, but I can personally vouch for these and would love to share a few before and after snaps with you. Maintaining a healthly lifestyle is something which needs greater promotion amongst pregnant & new mums and I plan to explore the benefits of post-pregnancy exercise in more detail, giving you exclusive exercise plans which will help you to get you where you want to be.
The most important message here ladies, is that the healthier we live, the longer we live. I for one want nothing more than a long and happy life with my loved ones, and what better time to start?
Have you got any pregnancy exercise tips? What worked for you? Which areas have you struggled with most?
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