As a mom with two children of my own, I know that when you are struggling with morning sickness, adjusting to a changing body and huffing and puffing every few steps you take, the last thing on your mind might be that Body Pump class you used to love. However, pre-natal exercise has incredible health benefits for both you and your baby. See below for a few key benefits of pre-natal exercise, and some basics on how to get started:
Pre-natal Exercise Helps You:
- Feel Better: Exercise can boost your energy level, release endorphins, help with backaches, strengthen and tone the back muscles and help you sleep better.
- Prevent excessive weight gain: This can be a challenge with cravings and the false notion that you should eat for two. The standard doctor recommendation is to add one, 250 calorie snack per day to your pre-pregnancy diet.
- Prepare your body for an easier birth: Having strong muscles, especially a strong core and a healthy heart, can help ease your labor and delivery and decrease the chance that you’ll need major medical intervention, like a C-section.
- Improve post-delivery recovery: The more active your fitness level during pregnancy, the quicker your body is likely to recover after childbirth.
Now that we know that pre-natal exercise is good for you, the question is how to start. Depending on your fitness level before you were pregnant, you can either maintain the same exercise regimen or continue with a modified regimen if needed. If you are new to exercise but would like to start, get your OB/GYN’s blessing and start out slowly.
The Best Exercises for Expectant Mothers:
- Walking: Strengthens heart/lungs, increases stamina, and is great because it can be done at any stage of pregnancy.
- Water Exercise: Strengthens heart/lungs; reduces strain on joints and improves blood flow (goodbye, swollen feet!).
- Prenatal Pilates: Strengthens entire body, especially core muscles.
- Modified Weight Training: Increases muscle tone and strength.
- Prenatal Yoga: Increases strength, flexibility, stamina and relaxation. Great for those who have trouble sleeping!
Another great benefit of exercising while pregnant? The chance to meet and bond with your partner, and other expectant moms in your community! acac Fitness & Wellness Centers offers several small group training programs designed for new or expectant mothers. See below for a list of classes where you can meet other mommas and get in a great workout as well!