A year ago I was pregnant with my first child. During those 9 months, I can attest first hand to the many benefits of exercising while pregnant. Thanks to exercise:
- I had very little physical discomforts such as back pain
- I stayed within the healthy weight gain guidelines
- I had a speedy postpartum recovery
- I was happy! Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster, exercise reduced any anxiety or depression, and increased my confidence and self-esteem!
But I also want to mention 3 other bonuses to prenatal exercise that are not often discussed!
1. Relieve Constipation! I’m just going to get this one out of the way first. When pregnant, hormonal changes will slow down digestion and cause a major back-up, which can be very uncomfortable. In addition to good nutrition and hydration, exercise will help keep things moving and therefore making your pregnancy far more comfortable!
2. Hold that baby with ease! A 6-8lbs baby doesn’t sound too heavy, but when you are constantly picking them up and holding them, muscle fatigue will happen, and even carpal tunnel can occur. Thankfully, you can build up those baby holding muscles before baby arrives! Focus on the forearm muscles, biceps, and shoulder muscles.
3. Prepare you for labour! I’m not sure if anyone told you, but delivering a baby can be difficult (like really difficult)!! Labour can be comparable to running 3 marathons!! While you can’t train for delivering a baby the same way you would train for an ultra marathon, you can still prepare your body to some degree. This includes strengthening your legs & glutes, the transverse abdominals, and pelvic floor muscles, and adding cardio exercises, such as walking stairs, swimming, or riding a stationary bike.
Try to include 3-4 hours of exercise in your week, and always listen to your body! If the exercise doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! I highly recommend meeting with a Prenatal Physiotherapist. They will assess your pelvic alignment, and advise exercises and stretches to help alleviate any discomfort and set you up for success postpartum.
Of course, please consult your doctor before you begin any prenatal exercise program.
Feel free to message me with any questions regarding Prenatal & Postpartum exercise, firstname.lastname@example.org