7 Reasons to continue your exercise regime in pregnancy....
Do you want a healthy, fit pregnancy? Do you want to continue training for your health and the health of your unborn baby? Well guess what? YOU CAN!
There a scary misconception that exercise causes miscarriage, low birth weight and pre-term labour. But none of this is evidence based. It is not true!
So if you have the all clear from your doctor/midwife then there is no reason to carry on that training routine. All you need to do is scale it for pregnancy and listen to your body (and your coaches).
What are the benefits of training in pregnancy?
1. Reduction in lower back pain
Lower back pain is the most common complaint in pregnancy. It is caused for many reasons, the increase in the hormones relaxin and progesterone the ligaments and muscles become lax and loose. This can cause instability, pain and bad posture. Exercising to strengthen the core muscles and posterior chain can help protect against this back pain throughout pregnancy.
2. Managing Weight Gain:
There is no recommended amount of weight gain during pregnancy. But it is the single biggest concern of all new mums out there. Being pregnant requires weight gain and storage of some maternal body fat – this is NORMAL. However, training during pregnancy will reduce the storage of unnecessary body fat (body fat that is not required for healthy pregnancy, aka excess fat). Research shows, that on average, women who train in their pregnancy gain on average 7lbs less than women who do not train or stop training.
3. Reduce risk of developing Gestational Diabetes:
Gestational Diabetes is caused by reduced insulin sensitivity which results in an increase in blood sugar levels in the body. Gestational diabetes can lead to complications during pregnancy, it can affect the weight of your unborn baby, many babies of diabetic mothers are either growth restricted (2.5kg or less) or the extreme opposite at 4kg or over. The problems can continue when your baby is born, they may struggle to correct their own insulin levels after mirroring yours. There is great amounts of evidence to show that exercising regularly regulates insulin levels, controlling blood sugar and reduces the need for medication.
4. That Endorphin Rush:
Exercise releases the body’s natural happy hormones called endorphins. It is natural to feel stressed during pregnancy because your body is changing, the impact on your normal routine, your personal life and social life. So with training in pregnancy you can take advantage of endorphins released and lift your mood and reduce your stress levels.
5. Improve Sleep:
It is so important to get plenty of sleep during your pregnancy. Your body is working very hard to grow your baby and maintain your wellbeing. As your pregnancy advances it can become increasingly difficult to get comfortable in bed and this can affect the quality and quantity of sleep that you get. Exercising regularly during pregnancy will improve your sleep by fatiguing your muscles, increasing energy expenditure and helping clear your mind.
6. Easier and shorter labour:
It is generally said that an average labour uses the same amount of energy as running a marathon. Nobody would run a marathon without training for it. So, why would you not train for your labour and delivery. It will significantly improve your experience and possibly even reduce the length of labour. Training your core muscles, posterior chain (legs and back) as well as adding aerobic exercise for cardiac health will significantly affect your energy levels and strength. I can honestly tell you that women who train regularly before and during their pregnancy COPE BETTER!!! They are able to tolerate the contractions for longer without pain relief and have a higher chance of achieving a normal delivery or water birth.
Training in pregnancy reduces the likelihood of your baby being in a “back to back position”. The position your baby is lying in when you go into labour can directly impact the length of labour, pain experienced and type of birth. “Back to Back” position usually results in longer early labour, increased back pain and longer labour. Exercising and remaining upright and mobile encourages the baby to adopt an anterior position which is the optimum position for the baby during labour.
7. Enhanced recovery – Returning to whatever your normality is quicker:
No matter what type of delivery you have, if you are healthy and fit you will more than likely have a faster and complication free recovery. Your ability to mobilise sooner is important for a quicker recovery due to muscle memory, improved blood flow and strengthened immune system.
So.... now you have 7 good reasons to continue your training in pregnancy! It is all about your health and the health of your baby. Just remember the most important part.... ENJOY IT!
Healthy mums have healthy pregnancies and have healthy babies!!
The Fit Midwife xx