Maintaining fitness during pregnancy has scientific health benefits that has been proven time and time again by evidence based research over the years. If you aim to enjoy a fit pregnancy, not only will you feel better, but you’ll look great as well!
One exercise professional specialising in pregnancy, Mary Bacon, says “maintaining strength and flexibility through regular exercise also improves the comfort of women during pregnancy. The benefits of being active right up until labour are huge; less back pain, better digestion and therefore less constipation and a minimised chance of sciatica.”1
A recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology ran controlled trials of 3,359 women. The findings concluded that women who exercised when pregnant had a 15% lower risk of having a caesarean section compared to inactive women, and women who exercised when pregnant gained an average of 1.2 kilograms less weight than inactive women2.
…More Evidence for a Fit Pregnancy
A further research study revealed that participation in regular physical activity before falling pregnant reduces your risk of being affected by gestational diabetes by 55%, and regular physical activity during early pregnancy decreases your risk for gestational diabetes by 24%3. These results are very exciting and hopefully may inspire you to continue to pursue a fit pregnancy.
Hopefully you can see many reasons for maintaining fitness during pregnancy. But what if you weren’t particularly active before falling pregnant? Well, there’s no time like the present to start. As long as you start off with gentle exercise and slowly increase your level of physical activity, there’s no reason you can’t begin even whilst already pregnant.
Gentle exercise such as prenatal yoga classes will increase your flexibility and fitness as well as improving mental health. Many swimming pools and gyms with pools offer prenatal aerobics classes as well as more physical aerobics style classes for fit mummies-to-be. One of the most popular pregnancy specific exercise companies in Australia is Preggi Bellies. Preggi Bellies classes are designed to get you “fitter, stronger, healthier and prepared for labour”4 and run in various locations across Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.
If you enjoy walking, running, pilates, yoga, swimming or lifting weights, there’s no reason to stop when you fall pregnant. Obviously safety must come first and so athletes such as marathon runners or road cyclists for example, may wish to reconsider their choice of activity when it comes to the later stages of pregnancy. Exercising when pregnant reaps so many benefits, there’s every reason to lace up your runners and keep that belly moving!
Image: Evgeny Atamanenko