How Being Fit During Pregnancy Pays Dividends to Your Body, Life and Future

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How Being Fit During Pregnancy Pays Dividends to Your Body, Life and Future

Posted 12 Aug 2017

Exercise & Fitness

Rhian Adams

How Being Fit During Pregnancy Pays Dividends to Your Body, Life and Future

Have you ever wondered whether you should still exercise during pregnancy?  Will it harm the baby? How hard should you push yourself?

One thing is clear – You CAN have a safe and healthy pregnancy AND maintain a high level of Fitness.  Exercise during pregnancy does NOT cause miscarriage, will NOT cause premature birth or low birth weight. However, it is most important to get the all- clear from your Doctor before taking up an exercise program to ensure there are no complications and that you are perfectly safe to exercise.  The health of your baby is your number one priority.  If in doubt, only exercise under the supervision of an instructor qualified to instruct pre-and post-natal women.

What does having a Fit Pregnancy mean?

  • It means setting yourself up for an easier labor and delivery, usually meaning fewer complications and less drugs to relieve pain.
  • It means developing strength all over body to get ready for all the bending and lifting you’ll be doing as a new mum.
  • It means developing your cardiovascular fitness; a stronger heart and lungs will enable you to live as a healthy mum, gran and great grandmother.
  • It also means balancing exercise with Nutrition. Eating for two, ensuring that what you eat is nutritious and adequate for you as a mother and the needs of your growing baby.

What are the benefits to a Fit Pregnancy?

1. Less weight gain

Fitness and PregnancyNot being able to lose the Pregnancy weight gain is THE biggest complaint of new moms.  Being pregnant requires that we gain weight and maternal body fat, which is healthy and necessary but you will gain LESS unnecessary fat if you exercise throughout your pregnancy.  Research shows 7 pounds less are gained by those who work out which means we will feel less like a beach whale and more like a hot mama!  Exercise also helps control blood sugar which will reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes by 27%, oh and this all also means you will bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight faster. 

2. Better sleep

During pregnancy it's hard to find a comfortable position to sleep.  Exercising tires you out so that you sleep more restfully at night. The second biggest complaint of new mums is also lack of sleep. Research shows that exercising during pregnancy will help you sleep better and in turn the baby will sleep better and sleep through the night sooner than babies of sedentary mums. 

3. Less aches and pains

Exercising during pregnancy lowers the risk of developing lower back pain, helping you maintain good posture by strengthening your posterior chain, back as your abdomen and chest increase in size.

4. Easier delivery

Childbirth is hard and you want to be physically ready, some term it as ‘the biggest athletic event you’ll ever experience’.  One of the best ways to get ready for it is to exercise through pregnancy and build that ‘oomph’ and stamina; maintaining strong abdominals and a healthy cardiovascular system will give you this.  Research shows labor time is shorter and easier for those following an active pregnancy.

5. Endorphin release

Exercise releases endorphins which will work wonders during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimester tiredness, mood swings and fatigue.  The endorphins sent through your body will help you feel relaxed and calm.  Active mums are in better moods in general throughout their pregnancy and have more self-confidence.

6. Cardiovascular benefits

Exercising your cardiovascular system increases blood flow to the body and baby improving maternal and fetal health.  Your baby will be born with a lower heart rate and research shows exercising will improve the cardiovascular health of the child after birth. Your body will not only be more efficient at transporting nutrients to the baby but also the greater blood flow helps to stimulate growth of the fetus and health of the placenta.  The increased blood flow from exercising during pregnancy also helps to prevent cramps, varicose veins and swelling in your lower legs and feet.

What if I've never exercised before pregnancy but I really want a healthy pregnancy?

Pregnancy and FitThere is no better time to start. 

One thing I advise is to start gradually and gently, listen to your body and be careful. 

Always make sure you get guidance and support from a pre-natal qualified trainer, this is a valuable investment into your body, your life and future.  They can guide you through exercises that are safe and from which you will reap huge benefits. 

Secondly, attend pre-natal exercise classes. Not only are you in a safe and supported environment but the social aspect of being around other mums-to-be can only make you feel more comfortable and make your experience more enjoyable.  Get involved, talk to the instructor, talk to others, make friends, share contact information it will also keep you accountable to attending regular exercise classes.

Walking and swimming are exercises you can do without instruction.  Start with 3 x 15mins per week and each week add an additional two minutes until you reach thirty minutes then increase to 4 x weekly.  Working out does mean your heart rate is elevated, however if you feel dizzy or overly tired then you must rest.  Keep close tabs on your body and know when to take a break.

As a first-time mom-to-be myself, I am looking forward to bouncing back to my previous figure and routine following birth and becoming an even fitter and stronger mum!

Now you know the benefits of exercising through your pregnancy - What are the best exercises to do during your first, second and third trimester? How do you modify your current routine? What precautions do we take? I will answer these questions in my next blog.

In happiness and health during pregnancy


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3 people have commented this blog.

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Felice says:

1 year 3 weeks ago
If only we all looked like Angelina Jolie when pregnant - and from memory, this one is where she is carrying twins no less! Great blog for expecting mothers - thank you for sharing your expertise.

Khadija says:

1 year 1 month ago
Thankyou this is a helpful blog, looking forward for the tips for the second trimester which is the stage I am currently in. KM

rachel_h_adams1984_144 says:

1 year 1 month ago
After reading this I feel more motivated to keep myself and my baby healthy and strong by exercising. I find that exercise also cleanses my mind which keeps me strong and focused. This is well written and educational. Hope you are enjoying preparing for motherhood. Suzanne x

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