I am now approaching my 35th week of pregnancy and have been making it a habit to exercise at least five times a week. During my second trimester I got lazy and was only working out a few times a week because of lack in energy and motivation. But now that my deadline is fast approaching, I want to be in the best shape possible to give birth. So from my own personal experience and that of research, I have been able to come up with 10 benefits of exercising while pregnant.
- Feel better! When I was not working out daily (5-6 times a week), I felt weak and fat. I still feel fat for obvious reasons, but I also feel healthier. Thanks to endorphins, I have more energy and I am more motivated to have a natural birth.
- I can sleep at night! This is huge for anyone who has been pregnant or is currently pregnant- not being able to sleep at night is exhausting. By exercising, you are strengthening muscles and these muscles need time to repair themselves (hence sleep).
- Exercise reduces pregnancy complications. Those who exercise while pregnant lower the risk of getting gestational diabetes. In one 2012 study, women who exercised while pregnant were less likely to have an unplanned cesarean.
- Prevents excessive weight gain- gaining weight while pregnant is a given. I know for me I have had some late night cravings, chocolate cravings, and hot cheetos cravings, if I weren’t exercising I can only imagine how much extra weight I would be gaining. Since I have been exercising I have been gaining natural weight (abdominal area-my cute baby bump).
- Strong muscles for endurance! I cannot begin to count how many times already mothers have warned me about the difficulties of giving birth. exercising while pregnant is strengthening a woman’s muscles and helping to build endurance. I know I will need these muscles when it comes time to give birth.
- Faster Recovery- the more one exercises during pregnancy the faster their recovery will be (or so it was in the same 2012 study). For me this is huge, this being my first and all, I want to be able to take care of my baby and be an excited new mom.