Benefits of Exercise During and After Pregnancy
Scientific studies consistently confirm the numerous and outstanding benefits of exercise during pregnancy both for the mother and her developing baby. These benefits are now widely recognized throughout the medical, birthing, and fitness communities.
The majority of studies on exercise during pregnancy collected data from previously fit and healthy women who continued their already active and healthy lifestyles during their pregnancies.
Pregnancy Presents a Unique Motivation to Begin or Continue an Exercise Program
Pregnancy affords a unique window of opportunity for women to actively engage in health-enhancing activities, including exercise. Maternal concern for her baby increases the mother's motivation to form better health habits during pregnancy. Physically active women are more likely to adopt other healthy lifestyle choices. Good habits established at this time can last a lifetime and provide profound benefits for the mother, baby, and other family members.
During Labor and Delivery, Fit Women Experience:
- Easier adaptation to the lower-intensity endurance activity of early labor.
- Shorter first and second stages of labor.
- Enhanced pain tolerance.
- Increased stamina for labor and delivery, with less perceived exertion during labor.
- Lower incidences of intervention during labor.
- Substantially fewer caesarian births.
- Good pelvic muscle tone-resulting in fewer episiotomies/tearing.
Adherence to Strength, Cardiovascular and flexibility Programs during Pregnancy also:
- Boosts maternal immune-system function which continues to benefit her baby after birth through breastfeeding.
- More efficiently delivers blood and oxygen to the heart and brain, enhancing concentration and energy-levels.
- Helps manage or prevent gestational diabetes.
- More effectively controls weight gain, which - in addition to physical benefits - enhances body image, confidence, and self-awareness.
- Improves posture and results in fewer aches and pains.
- Aids in quicker postpartum recovery.
- Decreases incidence of falls.
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and insomnia, imparting an overall improvement in sleeping patterns, possibly lowering risk for depression.
- A larger placenta develops, which increases the capacity to exchange oxygen and CO2, and nutrients and waste products.
- Increases the cardiovascular capacity of the baby.
Healthy Moms Raise Healthy Children
Fit moms give birth to leaner, stronger, healthier, and even smarter babies, who may even have better motor-functioning, cardiovascular capacity, with a greatly reduced risk for developing obesity, diabetes, and other related health challenges as adults.
Fit, active women demonstrate healthy self-care values and are positive role-models for their children to emulate.