If there's one tip to give all expecting moms it's the major benefits of staying active during pregnancy! While pregnancy comes with a host of discomforts and varying symptoms, one way to alleviate many of them is to stay active while pregnant. Learn more about the benefits of exercise during pregnancy as well as the best way to go about exercise when pregnant.
Many people believe that pregnancy is a time to eat, eat, and rest. And while eating more and resting more are definitely necessary (you are growing a baby!), if you're a low-risk pregnancy, movement, activity, and exercise are all beneficial.
However, being active doesn't mean you need to be penciling in a scheduled go hard or go home workouts four days per week. Not even in the slightest. It means that getting off the couch, remaining mobile, and staying healthy all around.
My Experience Staying Active During Pregnancy
Currently in my third trimester with my third baby, I can truly say I've been around the block on staying active during pregnancy! I've been lucky to have low-risk pregnancies with all three of my girls. This has allowed me to continue working out with each pregnancy up to and until the day I go into labor!
As a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, in pregnancy I strive for a few things:
- to stay strong through my posterior chain
- stay strong (and mobile) in my hips
- to keep a base amount of strength in my lifts to make postpartum fitness easier
- to maintain pelvic floor health
- to stay fueled with snacks like pregnancy cookies
And though my focus during pregnancy is very much strength-based, what I want to impress upon you is this: it's not all about the structure, the strength or what you can do. it's about MOVING your body in ways that feels good.
It's a movement that you'll reap the most benefits from (like the ones below) and is the main reason for staying active during pregnancy.
Staying Active During Pregnancy Helps Reducing Constipation, Bloating & Swelling
Much of these three things come from lack of movement.
Thus, keeping the blood flowing in your body can help prevent and alleviate a lot of swelling and bloating. When it comes to constipation, diet plays a huge role so don't underestimate the power of food (these are great tips to relieve constipation naturally).
Double on your water too in order to keep things moving.
An Active Pregnancy Helps You Sleep Better
It's no secret that once that belly develops sleep becomes a bit trickier. It's hard to get comfortable, the baby kicks, there are endless reasons.
Exercise can help with this simply by improving your need to sleep. Your body needs that time to recover and repair and of course- staying active is draining! You'll crash a lot better if you've worked up the need to sleep a bit
Exercise Helps Reduce Back Pain
If you've committed to an exercise program make sure it includes a lot of posterior (back of the body) work,specifically an emphasis on the glutes. This helps alleviate some of the pressure caused by a growing baby and belly which often manifests as back pain as your body struggles to support the added weight.
Allowing your muscles to move, strengthening the appropriate ones, and using proper mechanics can help alleviate a lot of pain (learn more about back pain)
Staying Fit Improves Your Mood
Mood swings in pregnancy are real folks. Very real. All those extra hormones flooding your body can cause a few fun outbursts. Staying active during pregnancy, especially outdoors, can help boost your mood thanks to the natural endorphins that come from working your muscles.
Take a brisk walk, enjoy some nature, and work up a bit of a sweat.
Activity Versus Workouts
If you're able to structure and maintain a workout program while pregnant- awesome! It's my preference but it's not for everybody.
I personally believe that being fit and remaining active throughout pregnancy can help you recover from the fun endurance marathon that is labor. However, I don't think it dictates how your labor progresses or finishes.
Instead of "working out", the focus should be on staying active with exercises like:
Anything else you enjoy that keeps you moving (here's how to stay active outside of workouts)
Don`t forget to pin these awesome benefits of staying active while pregnant!
Exercising while pregnant can help alleviate a lot of discomfort and struggles in the nine months you're growing a baby. Don't underestimate it! Work within your capabilities and stay as active as you feel comfortable with.
Stay fit mamas 🙂