10 Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

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Research clearly shows that women should exercise while pregnant. The benefits include not only emotional and physical improvement for mom, but healthy heart development for the baby as well. Plus, with mom happier and more comfortable during and after pregnancy, the whole family will benefit. 

Here are 10 reasons to keep moving throughout pregnancy:

Increased Self-Esteem. Moms who exercise show lower rates of depression and improved self-esteem.

Energy. Pregnancy can be exhausting (you’re growing a person after all). Exercise helps to take away that pregnancy fog and increase your energy. Even a 10-minute walk can do the trick.

Sleep. With an ever-changing body and added weight, pregnant women can find sleep to be a challenge. Daily exercise helps you get the sleep you need.

Comfort. Even the easiest pregnancies have their share of discomforts. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease backaches, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, hot flashes and even morning sickness during pregnancy.

Weight. Women who exercise while pregnant put on an average of seven fewer pounds (than those who don’t) while staying in a healthy weight range for pregnancy.

Lower Gestational Diabetes Risk. Up to 10 percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes, which places mom and baby at risk for health problems during and after pregnancy. Regular exercise during pregnancy reduces your risk of gestational diabetes by as much as 27 percent.

Core Strength. It is a myth that women should not work their core while pregnant. Core muscles, including the pelvic floor, help to strengthen and stabilize the spine, improving posture during and after pregnancy. Core awareness and strength will also help get you through delivery and recovery more quickly.

Easier Delivery. Studies show that women who exercise have a lower rate of C-sections, forceps deliveries and episiotomies.

Your Baby’s Heart. Even your baby will benefit from regular exercise during pregnancy. One study shows that pregnant women who exercise at least 30 minutes a day have fetuses with lower heart rates. This benefit can last even one month after babies are born.

Bounce Back to Pre-Baby Body. After your baby is born, you will be better able to maintain your already established regular exercise routine. Your mind-muscle connection is there, so you can reclaim your pre-baby body faster. Plus, those same emotional and mental health benefits of exercising while pregnant will help as you adjust to your new life as mommy.

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Information provided by Kerry Corcoran of The Dailey Method San Diego, which offers daily exercise classes. Learn more at The Dailey Method San Diego.

Published: February 2015

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