There is no question that pregnancy can put on some extra pounds, and keep them there well after giving birth. While many pregnant women wait until after a baby is born to get into shape again, the key is really to keep fit during pregnancy.
Being physically fit while pregnant can provide numerous benefits for you and your baby during pregnancy, after pregnancy, and much later on in life.
Here are 7 reasons you should still break a sweat when you are expecting:
- 1. Girls, you likely won’t have to work as hard to get your shape back after having a baby. Exercising now is going to help you later, and fit moms usually gain at least 7 pounds fewer than moms who don’t workout while pregnant while still staying within the range for fit weight gain.
- 2. Exercises like water aerobics can make labor and delivery easier on both mom and baby. You’ll need lots of stamina when it comes time to push; having a fit cardiovascular system will help you stay strong when most other women who don’t work out start to falter.
- 3. Exercising moms have a lowered risk of gestational diabetes (GDM). While you should always get your doctor or doula’s O.K. before engaging in any activity during pregnancy, you can avoid being a statistic for GDM. Approximately 18 of every 100 women develop GDM while pregnant, but this is lowered significantly when you stay active.
- 4. Exercising while pregnant can make your baby smarter. New findings presented somewhat recently in San Diego at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience suggest that biking, walking or swimming for just twenty minutes three times a week, can raise your baby’s IQ. What’s more, 12-day old babies had the same brain activity as four-month-olds in moms who did not exercise.
- 5. Beat the Pregnancy blues. Moms who exercised several times a week or even just once were found to have elevated moods compared to moms who were sedentary during pregnancy. If you are struggling with hormonal mood swings while pregnant, get moving!
- 6. Lessen Constipation. Mom’s get a little backed up in their digestive tracts during pregnancy due to increased levels of progesterone. Staying active can help move food and nutrients through the intestines, thus eliminating, or lessening constipation issues.
- 7. You are less likely to have a C–section. Moms who exercise are less likely to have (need) a C-section because their babies will still be a healthy weight and a healthy size.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.