According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy pregnant women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. It is best to spread your activity out over the week. For example, getting 30 minutes of exercise five days a week is ideal. This rule is also true for healthy postpartum women.
So, you know that staying active while pregnant is important. But how does it benefit you and your baby?
Staying Active While Pregnant Lowers Your Risk of Certain Complications
One of the most important reasons for staying active while pregnant is that it can reduce your risk of developing certain complications. Getting regular exercise (along with diet) can help you manage your weight during pregnancy, which can reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension (preeclampsia). Both conditions pose risks to the baby and can cause complications during delivery. For example, women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have large babies that require a c-section to deliver.
Exercise Boosts Your Energy
Fatigue is a common side effect of pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. After all, your body is working hard nurturing a new human being. It makes sense that you might feel a bit sapped of energy. The good news is that working out can give you an energy boost. Exercise increases your heart rate, gets your blood flowing, and releases endorphins. These factors will all raise your energy level. Regular cardiovascular exercise can also improve stamina. So if you feel yourself getting tired, try going for a brisk walk to perk up.
Activity Can Improve Your Mood
Did you catch that bit about endorphins in #X? That’s right, exercise releases feel-good endorphins. That can be great news for pregnant women, who are more susceptible to depression and anxiety. Staying active while pregnant boosts your mood and helps you manage stress.
You’ll Sleep Better
Staying active while pregnant can help you with a problem many women have: trouble sleeping. Consistent exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality in pregnant women. Just make sure you do not exercise too close to bedtime. After all, it has those energy-boosting effects we talked about earlier.
Activity is Good For Reducing Stress
Exciting, joyous, beautiful, magical, frustrating, tiring, stressful, and overwhelming are all adjectives that have been used to describe pregnancy. Your life is changing in the biggest way possible. Plus, your hormones are going crazy. It’s understandable if you feel stressed, especially as you close in on your due date. Staying active is a great way to relieve some of that stress and anxiety.
Getting Moving May Relieve Discomfort
Staying active during pregnancy can help with the aches, pains, and general discomfort that is associated with pregnancy in the third trimester. Exercise relieves back and pelvic pain, which are common complaints among expectant mothers. Physical activity also helps reduce bloating, swelling, and constipation.
You May Have an Easier Labor and Delivery
There is no guarantee that working out will make your labor and delivery easier, but it won’t hurt. Being healthy and strong may help you cope with labor pains. Healthier women may also have a reduced risk of needing a cesarean or other medical intervention. Staying active while pregnant. can also help your body heal and recover during the postpartum period.
The CNMs of City of Oaks Midwifery are committed to providing comprehensive care to all of our patients before, during, and after pregnancy. We take a holistic approach to maternity care and can help guide you through pregnancy. Call our Raleigh, NC office at (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment.