It is commonly known that exercise is beneficial to the health and wellbeing of individuals, but this article will focus on the benefits of exercise for expecting mothers and their babies. I have often heard people say that they are unable to lose weight or have high blood pressure due to genetics and their family history. Poor eating and lifestyle habits have been attributed to higher birth weights and greater risks of developing health issues and diseases such as obesity. On the other hand, the lack of proper nutrient dense diets by expecting mothers can result in underweight births and cause for a number of other issues including cardiovascular and dysfunctional diseases. It is important to understand the significance of the actions a mother takes during her pregnancy and how they can both positively and negatively affect the baby.
Physical exercise during pregnancy will not only help assure the health of the baby, but it will also help rid of the baby fat left over after delivery on the mother. Many local gyms and health clubs have programs designed for expecting mothers, that involve low intensity and low impact exercises. Water aerobics and yoga are commonly used by this population and for a good reason. Pelvic floor exercises are also good for pregnant women and doing them will lower the risk of experiencing incontinence after having the baby.
Other exercises that will benefit both parties during pregnancy include stationary biking, brisk walking, and light strength training. Participating in exercise during pregnancy will also help with the side effects of being pregnant. This includes helping with mood swings, self-esteem, increased energy, relieving stress and anxiety, and lowering the risk of depression. Another health benefit not mentioned above is the lowering of gestational diabetes risk. Up to 18% of expecting mothers experience this form of diabetes due to the change in hormonal levels. Exercise helps control hormones and maintain homeostasis in the body.
Below is a list of other health benefits of exercise during pregnancy:
· Improves Circulation (Reduces swelling, Cramps, and Varicose Veins)
· Improves Sleep
· Shorter labor
· Less prone to morning sickness
· Social support from other expecting mothers
There are many benefits to exercise for all individuals both pregnant and non-pregnant. These listed above are stated to inspire those who may not have considered pregnancy exercise, to do so. The benefits are overwhelming and your child will be much healthier because of your actions. We are often told and reminded what not to do during exercise but not so often told what we can do to improve and lower risks during pregnancy. Check with your local health club and see what programs they have to offer for expecting mothers and those planning to be in the near future.