Have you just found out that you are pregnant?
Are you wondering what you can do for your own health and the health of your baby?
If you were active and exercising before becoming pregnant, you can usually continue with the same type of exercise you were accustomed to, provided that you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, and your doctor has approved for you to continue with exercise.
Exercise is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your unborn baby. Research has shown that exercise can provide many great benefits for mother and baby:
Babies born to mothers who exercise during their pregnancy experience:
- Increased physical health scores
- Increased intelligence scores
- Fewer fetal interventions
- Fewer pregnancy complications
- Improved nutrient and waste exchange
Moms who exercise during pregnancy experience:
- Easier Labours: decreased need to for pain relief, decreased risk of non-surgical interventions, less time spent in labour, reduced likelihood of excessive birth weight babies
- Fewer Pregnancy Discomforts: less weight gain, reduced likelihood of Gestational Diabetes, reduced likelihood of preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)
What to Expect
Some women feel fantastic during pregnancy and can often continue exercising as if they were not even pregnant. Many women however feel very tired, and out of breath, especially during the first trimester.
This is completely normal.
Progesterone is a hormone that increases during pregnancy, and causes pregnant women to breathe faster to carry more oxygen to you and your baby. Many women are surprised by how out of breath they feel.
Together with this many women also battle with morning sickness.
So the first trimester is really a time, more than any other, to listen to your body.
The important thing is to keep moving whenever you can, but also to rest when your body tells you to; doing what your body allows. Whether for you that means taking walks or swimming, or doing weight training, or aerobics or crossfit, listen to your body and move as much as you can. Just moving can bring many of the above-mentioned health benefits to you and your unborn baby.
If you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, and have been cleared by your doctor to exercise, there are many great exercising that you can do to specifically prepare your body for birth and for the physical demands of being a mother.
I will discuss some of these exercises in my next Pregnancy post.