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Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy

 

Pregnancy is a transformative journey, both physically and emotionally. Amidst the flurry of preparations and excitement, one aspect often overlooked is the importance of exercise. While it's natural to prioritize rest and caution during this time, maintaining a regular exercise routine can bring many benefits for both the expectant mother and her growing baby.

 

Physical Well-being:

 

Regular exercise during pregnancy can help alleviate common discomforts such as backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling. It also aids in maintaining a healthy weight, which can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension. Additionally, staying active can improve circulation, reducing the likelihood of developing varicose veins and leg cramps.

 

Emotional Support:

 

Pregnancy can be accompanied by mood swings, anxiety, and stress. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators, helping to combat stress and promote a sense of well-being. It can also improve sleep quality, which is often disrupted during pregnancy.

 

Labor and Delivery:

 

Staying active throughout pregnancy can contribute to an easier labor and delivery process. Exercise strengthens the muscles needed for labor, enhances endurance, and promotes better posture and body awareness. Moreover, staying fit can help expedite postpartum recovery.

 

Baby's Health:

 

Research suggests that exercise during pregnancy may have long-term benefits for the baby. It can contribute to healthier birth weights and reduce the risk of certain complications such as preterm birth and excessive fetal growth.

 

Safe Practices:

 

It's crucial to consult with your healthcare provider before starting or continuing an exercise regimen during pregnancy. Not all exercises are suitable, and modifications may be necessary to accommodate the changing body. Generally, low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and modified strength training are safe options. Many women can also continue to do their regular work out routines as long as they clear it with their physician, as well as let their trainer (if applicable) so they can create modifications. 

 

There are also certain conditions within pregnancy in which you may need to temporarily stop exercising, or where exercise may be unsafe. As always, discuss with your health care provider if this applies to you and your pregnancy. 

 

Listen to Your Body:

 

Pregnancy is not the time to push oneself to the limit or take up strenuous new activities. It's essential to listen to the body's cues, stay hydrated, and avoid overheating. If any discomfort, dizziness, or unusual symptoms arise during exercise, it's best to stop immediately and seek medical advice.

 

Incorporating a regular exercise routine during pregnancy can have numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby. From physical well-being to emotional support and preparation for labor, staying active plays a vital role in promoting a healthy pregnancy and a smooth postpartum recovery. Remember, every pregnancy is unique, so always consult with your healthcare provider to ensure a safe and suitable exercise plan.

 

Author
Dorothy Bestoyong, DO Dorothy Bestoyong, DO, brings a wealth of experience to the team at Premier Obstetrics & Gynecology. Originally born in Manila, Philippines, Dr. Bestoyong moved to the Bay Area in California before eventually settling in Jacksonville, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Florida. Following her undergraduate studies, Dr. Bestoyong went on to receive her osteopathic medicine degree from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, West Virginia. She completed her residency at UCF/HCA Orlando OBGYN at Osceola Regional Medical Center, where she served as the academic chief resident. Dr. Bestoyong has interests in all aspects of Women’s Health, especially general obstetrics and minimally invasive/robotic gynecological surgery. When she’s not at work, you can find her trying out local restaurants, playing tennis, working out (especially pilates), and spending time with her husband.

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