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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.

Here are some myths about training while pregnant:

MYTH: Pregnant women should not run.
FACT: If a woman ran regularly before she became pregnant, and she is following the national guidelines for cardio F.I.T.T., she can continue to run. If and when running ceases to feel good, she should choose an alternative low impact cardiovascular exercise like walking or swimming.

MYTH: Pregnant women should only exercise in their second trimester.
FACT: The society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) states, “We can encourage women with uncomplicated pregnancies in any trimester to begin an exercise routine.” (2003). They also state that “Women and their care providers should consider the risks of NOT participating in exercise activities during pregnancy, including loss of muscular and cardiovascular fitness, excessive maternal weight gain, higher risk of gestational diabetes or pregnancy induced hypertension, development of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, a higher incidence of physical complaints such as dyspnea or lower back pain, and poor psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy.” (2003).

MYTH: Previously Sedentary women should not exercise during pregnancy.
FACT: “In uncomplicated pregnancies, women with or without a previously sedentary lifestyle should be encouraged to participate in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises as a part of a healthy lifestyle.” (SOGC/CSEP, 2003)

MYTH: Pregnant women should eat for two.
FACT: Pregnant women with a healthy BMI only need an extra 300kcal/day.

So when you give it less food, the result is a slow metabolism for survival purposes. That's why it is important to take a break from your diet (but stay in control of your food intake) and focus on eating healthy, balanced meals with exercise. This will prevent your metabolism from getting too slow.

So now that we have some of the myths about exercising during pregnancy lets look at the benefits of being a fit mother:

  • 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.
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.

It is always a good idea to hire a Certified Pre and Postnatal Personal trainer that can help you through some of the do’s and don’ts of training while pregnant and post pregnancy. As your body changes so will your exercises and how you exercise.

Have happy and Healthy Month!