There is no doubt that pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. Bringing life into the world, preparing for a new journey within motherhood and anticipating the surprises ahead—it is a time which holds so much purpose and joy. The experience of pregnancy is different for each woman and for some, it is also a time when the battle with unwarranted weight gains first appears. Now, it is completely normal for pregnant mothers to see increases in their weight during pregnancy, however, excessive weight gain can become a problem for both mother and child if it is not handled correctly. Physical activity during pregnancy provides a great deal of benefits to both mommy and baby, and it can help to remove some of the negative side effects that sometimes make pregnancy a little less enjoyable.
One thing that is very important to remember is that pregnancy can be a very stressful time for a woman’s body. It is important for expecting mothers to be aware of the changes her body will undergo during pregnancy, including some of the following:
*Changes in body temperature and increased heat production
*Faster rate of fatigue
*Increased risk of falls
*Increased joint and back discomfort
*Increased body aches
*Increased heart rate response for similar workloads compared to before pregnancy
This certainly is not the time to begin intense weight loss efforts or training for a triathlon. Additionally, for a woman with a history of an extremely sedentary lifestyle prior to pregnancy, it is not wise to begin an exercise routine without the approval and, sometimes supervision, of a physician. Yet and still, there is no denying the benefits of exercising during pregnancy. Along with helping to maintain a woman’s current level of fitness, when done correctly exercise during pregnancy can be a wonderful choice. Some benefits include:
*Quickened recovery from pregnancy, labor, and childbirth
*Improved blood flow & oxygen delivery within the mother’s body
*Increased use of fat as fuel and reduced chances of excess weight gain
*Improved regulation and reduction in body temperature
*Increased muscular strength and function
*Improved ability of the body to adapt to changes in weight and center of gravity
*Shortened length of labor
*Faster growth of placenta
*Lower levels of subcutaneous fat for baby
*Healthier long-term growth and development within offspring
When deciding on what exercise to perform, pregnant women should pick an activity which does not pose any risk to the fetus, is enjoyable, and can easily be modified. Contact sports and activities such as scuba diving and water skiing are definitely activities which should be avoided during pregnancy, as well as anything else which may create discomfort for both mother and child. Before beginning any exercise program during pregnancy is recommended that expecting mothers consult with a medical professional for approval and a fitness professional for guidance.
To know that you are working on taking care of YOU is a good feeling, but to know that you are helping to create a healthier, more enjoyable life for your child is a feeling that can never be forgotten. For all the aspiring mommies and current mommies-to-be, consider some form of physical activity—not only for you but for the little-one-to-come, too.