Why Exercising Throughout Pregnancy is Good for You and Your Baby
When it comes to exercising during your pregnancy there can be a lot of reasons why new mum’s feel completely overwhelmed and unsure about what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
Your body is going through so many incredible changes and there is a lot of conflicting information about there about what is best and safe to do. As a pregnant mum to be - I totally get it.
In this blog post I am going to talk about some of the amazing benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy for both you and your baby.
We are seeing more research and evidence around the benefits of exercising for pregnant women. That it can not only help with pain relief and labour preparation but that it can also be good for baby.
If you’re someone who hasn’t exercised regularly in the past but this is something you are keen to do throughout your pregnancy then you should add exercise gradually into your lifestyle. If you’re already regularly exercising pre-pregnancy then this is something you can continue to do so with some tweaks here and there to accommodate for changes throughout.
In pregnancy the emphasis should be on how you’re doing the exercises more than what exercise you’re doing. Technique is important and should be a priority during any exercise you’re doing.
We know that pregnancy for some women can be really challenging and a good percentage of us suffer with pain and discomfort at some stage. The figures show that 70% of pregnant women experience back pain during their pregnancy. Exercise can be a great way to help relieve some of the aches and pains we experience.
Pregnancy yoga and Pilates are great ways to keep the body active and utilising controlled movements and poses to offer pain relief from tight muscles. Working with a pre and post-natal qualified personal trainer can also be really beneficial. They will design safe strength workouts and keep adapting the sessions to meet your needs throughout each trimester.
We know in the third trimester there is an increase in levels of testosterone in the pregnant woman which makes strength training and lifting weights a fantastic option for mum.
We know that exercising throughout pregnancy has been shown to limit weight gain for mum. This can help reduce some of the pressure felt through the joints as the baby grows. Although weight loss should definitely not be a sole focus for pregnant women, instead we want to look at how best to nourish mum and baby throughout.
Pregnancy is a great time for you to re-frame and modify your training to help you prepare your body for childbirth and the fourth trimester.
Exercise has been shown to improve our mental state as well as our overall fitness levels. In pregnant and post-natal women, we know exercise is effective for reducing the severity of depression symptoms.
We also know that an area in the brain called the Hippocampus expands and there are changes in the grey matter cells. This impacts on our emotional capacity and helps us to bond, another reason why group exercises classes and exercising with others during pregnancy is helpful.
It is also worth thinking about whether exercising helps you personally to manage your stress or just adds more stress to your life. If this is the case, perhaps there are other ways in which you can boost your mood, such as a walk out in nature rather than structured exercise classes which might not be the right fit for you.
There is a huge amount of physical and musculoskeletal changes that go on during pregnancy. Our centre of gravity shifts, our balance and coordination can be impacted. Our breasts alone can increase 500g each! This is why a supportive sports bra during pregnancy is an absolute must!
Exercise can help to improve overall motion, reduce any restrictions you might be facing due to changes in your body composition and tight or sore muscles and ultimately restore better everyday function for you.
Exercising can help you feel better connected and more in tune with your body as it changes throughout the trimesters and after labour.
Taking up a new exercise glass, joining a pregnancy group or working with a personal trainer also creates a support network. A new network of people that you can reach out to, gain support from and also bond with.
Pregnancy can be a scary time in a woman’s life, it is essential we have other people to support us along the way. You’ll be able to share experiences, tips and advice with other expectant mothers and learn about ways to enjoy your time from experts.
These people will be checking in with you, asking how you’re feeling and managing, asking about pain levels and discomfort and checking in on babies’ movements. Trainers qualified to work with you will be aware of any red flags or any instances where they would want to refer you to your midwife or to a women’s health physio to help support you throughout the pregnancy.
I hope this blog will encourage you to take a look at some of the different ways you can safely stay active throughout your pregnancy and better enjoy your journey as an expectant mother. I personally love working with pregnant and post-natal women.
There is no greater feeling than supporting a woman into her labour and helping her to feel strong, confident and capable as a new mum.
Want to know more about working with me? Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.