top of page

The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Updated: Apr 18


Two pregnant ladies lying on their backs on grey mats doing pregnancy exercises

As we well know, regular exercise for anyone is a key part to a healthy lifestyle. In pregnancy, our bodies go through numerous physical and emotional changes to support the growth of our baby, and prepare for labour and birth.


We are going to explore the amazing benefits of exercising when pregnant - for you and for your baby.


The health benefits of exercise during pregnancy that we shouldn't ignore


In a nutshell, staying active in pregnancy helps to keep our hearts healthy and improve circulation, decreasing the risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia and high blood pressure. Regular exercise in pregnancy regulates blood sugar levels to help reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes, and helps maintain a healthy weight.


As you progress through your pregnancy and your bump starts to increase in size, exercise during pregnancy will help to increase your stamina and maintain strength so your body can support and flex to the pressures on the spine, pelvis and abdominals. It can also help alleviate pregnancy symptoms such as constipation, back ache, swelling, fatigue and sickness.


How can exercise help improve my mood in pregnancy?


Happy pregnant woman sitting on the floor touching her bare stomach

How you experience and cope with pregnancy on a day to day basis can be helped by regular exercise during pregnancy.


When we exercise our bodies release endorphins, our ‘feel good’ hormones, this will boost our mood and help you to cope better with pregnancy stresses.


Sleeping in pregnancy can also be challenging whilst pregnant as you adapt to new sleep positions and hormones pumping around your body. Lack of sleep can affect how we are feeling which will affect our experience of our pregnancy journey.


Getting outside for exercise in the fresh air and having an exercise routine will set you up for a better nights sleep. Exercise will also help to regulate hormones and improve self-esteem, lowering risk of anxiety and depression.


Joining an antenatal exercise class like Active Mums Plymouth or going for walks with other expectant mums can provide you with a new support network of women experiencing the same issues and challenges as you and you may well find that these new connections go on to be important friendships as you journey through pregnancy and parenthood!




What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy for my baby?


Pregnant lady in pink top looking at ultrasound pictures

When thinking about the benefits of exercise in pregnancy we don’t automatically think about what the baby gets out of mum looking after herself! It’s often assumed that exercise is a risk for the baby but there are undeniable benefits that you wouldn’t want your growing baby to miss out on!


Firstly, exercise in pregnancy supports your baby’s development; Studies show that exercise can positively impact the brain development of the foetus and babies are more likely to be a healthy birth weight. Exercise during pregnancy also improves circulation and temperature control which directly keeps baby well-nourished and comfortable.


We’ve discussed the benefits of exercise in pregnancy on mental health: The saying “A happy mummy equals a happy baby” is true during pregnancy, as well as postnatally, and exercise is great for lowering stress levels.


There are many physical benefits of exercise which correlate to the comfort of you AND your baby during pregnancy. During antenatal fitness classes you will practice exercises that will give your baby space to move and stretch.



Pregnant lady doing exercise class

Improved posture equals room for baby!


Baby will also enjoy the movement of you exercising, the music and sounds from an exercise class and you will both enjoy time to bond.


Lastly, if you are exercising regularly during pregnancy, you are more likely to return to exercise in the postnatal months. What better way to set the stage and show your growing child how to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of childhood obesity?


Does exercise in pregnancy make labour easier?


Pregnant woman working out using hand weights

Whichever pathway your labour and birth takes you, it will require stamina and strength, both physically and mentally.


Building strength and endurance through exercise can potentially help make labour easier and quicker, you may have fewer complications and recover quicker.




Exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and keeps all your muscles moving and in shape for when it’s time to bring baby into the world.


The ‘feel good’ effects of exercise on mood and stress during pregnancy will also help you to feel calm and positive about your labour and birth and to have a more positive experience.


Often antenatal fitness classes like mine teach you additional breathing and relaxation techniques for labour and birth which are invaluable to your journey into motherhood.


In summary


In summary, when approached safely, exercise is a powerful tool for promoting a healthy pregnancy and you and your baby will feel the benefits well into the postnatal period and beyond. So what are you waiting for? See what classes are available in your area!


Check out my Plymouth based prenatal and postnatal fitness courses.


 


Hello! I'm Debbie and I am a qualified pregnancy and postnatal fitness and hypnobirthing instructor in Plymouth, Devon.


My classes provide a safe and fun environment to exercise during pregnancy and beyond.


I also hold a free monthly community walk event for mums to get out and about locally.


 

Have you learnt anything new in this blog? Feel free to leave a comment below!

15 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page