Benefits of prenatal exercise

Published research continues to show support to the idea that exercise is not only safe during pregnancy, but that exercise provides many benefits to both mother and baby. Studies have shown women who exercise at a mild to moderate intensity for 30 minutes three or more times a week will experience the following positive effects ( (ACOG) :

  • Less physical discomfort (reduced chance of constipation, haemorrhoids, bloating, swelling, leg cramps)
  • Improved self-image, mood and posture
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Better muscle tone, strength and endurance
  • Less overall body fat
  • Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduced risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Less time in the pushing phase of delivery — New study shows regular exercise during pregnancy shortens labour by 50 minutes
  • Lower incidence of Caesarean section birth 
  • Fewer obstetric interventions (vacuum extraction, forceps)
  • The benefits do not stop with the mother. Babies born to women who exercise:
  • Tend to be leaner (lower body fat, not smaller)
  • Are better self-soothers (less cranky and less likely to have colic)
  • Have higher general intelligence scores and better oral language skills all the way to age 5 (Clapp, 1998)

Pregnancy is an athletic event if there ever was one. Not only is delivery an incredibly physical endeavour, but recovery and the demands of motherhood also require an increase in strength. The first trimester is a great time to begin the process of strength building before the growing body adds its own challenges.   

One of the main focuses throughout the whole pregnancy is building and maintaining strength. Core strength is one of those. Strong abs help carry the baby by supporting the lower back. Your core helps to support your back with bending, lifting, and good posture during pregnancy, and will also help push the baby out during childbirth. If we are talking about your core; one of the things included in that is your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor muscles help to push the baby out during delivery. Incontinence or loss of urine is a big problem for pregnant and postpartum women. Women with strong pelvic floor muscles will heal faster and have greater bladder control after childbirth.


%d bloggers like this: