Fitness during pregnancy is important for the health of both expecting mothers and their unborn babies. During pregnancy, women should aim to stay active and eat nutritious foods to benefit both themselves and their little ones. Prenatal fitness can help moms-to-be stay strong and healthy, and give their babies a healthy start in life.
Gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy is crucial to a baby’s health. An expecting mother should work with her doctor to determine the best weight gain range for her. Prenatal fitness, in conjunction with a balanced diet, is the best way to ensure a mom is gaining the right amount of weight throughout her pregnancy without over- or under-eating.
Regular physical activity can help make labor and delivery easier, too. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), exercise during pregnancy can reduce back pain, improve posture, enhance muscle tone, and improve circulation —all of which can help moms during labor. Fitness can also help shorten labor time, making delivery easier. Exercise can even help reduce the risk of preterm labor.
Staying active can help prevent other pregnancy-related issues as well. Women who engage in regular physical exercise, such as walking or doing yoga, are less likely to develop gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a common complication of pregnant women that can have serious implications for both the mother and baby.
Prenatal fitness is great for a baby’s overall health, too. Exercise can help improve oxygen flow to the baby, regulate metabolism, and improve the baby’s cognitive development. It also helps improve the baby’s muscle strength and endurance, which can lead to better sleep patterns for the baby after it is born.
Fitness during pregnancy is beneficial for both mother and baby, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to prenatal fitness. Doctors recommend that women of all fitness levels exercise by walking, swimming, and doing light resistance training. Women should always consult their doctor before beginning an exercise program, and stop any exercise if they feel dizzy, faint, or experience any abdominal pain.
For maximum benefit, pregnant women should aim to exercise at least 20-30 minutes per day. Even just a few minutes of exercise each day can have a positive effect on the unborn baby’s health. With all the benefits that prenatal fitness offers, every expecting mom should strive to stay active during her pregnancy.