Benefits of Exercising Pregnant

posted Jun 9, 2016, 3:23 PM by Rebecca Smith
Whether you are wanting to fall pregnant, are pregnant or wanting to shed those post pregnancy kilos exercise has so many benefits.

Exercise and falling pregnant

Exercise increases fertility – The ideal weight as far as fertility is concerned is a BMI between 20 and 24 says fertility experts. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine actually estimates that 12 percent of infertility cases are because of weight-related issues (with roughly an equal number of people suffering from infertility being overweight and underweight). Why? Your weight can affect your periods and ovulation - so if you’re not at a healthy weight, your fertility can suffer.

Benefits of exercising during pregnancy

     Maintaining a healthy weight gain (20% of pre pregnancy weight). A 60kg woman should gain approximately 12kgs during her pregnancy at the rate of 1-2kgs per month. Weight gain is usually made up of:

                Baby                                                      3.5kgs

                Extra fat stores                                 2.5kgs

                Mother’s extra blood and fluid  2.0kgs

                Uterus and amniotic fluid             1.8kgs

                Breasts                                                 1.5kgs

                Placenta                                               0.7kgs

     Increase energy and promote healthier sleeping patterns

     Labour and delivery may be easier. No guarantees, of course, but strong abs and a fit cardiovascular system can give you more oomph and stamina for the pushing stage

     Relieve, or even prevent constipation as pregnancy slows down your bowel movements.

     Improve circulation which will in turn help prevent/reduce fluid retention, varicose veins, bloating, swelling and haemorrhoids.

     You lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27 percent. High blood sugar during pregnancy puts you at extremely high risk for developing type II diabetes in the decade after delivering and raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby. If you do develop it—and many fit women do because genetics and age play a significant role—exercise may help prevent or delay your need for insulin or other medications.

     Speed up post-delivery recovery, the more you increase your pregnancy fitness, the faster you'll recover physically after childbirth, the more fit you'll be after delivery.

Did you know that:

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you’re now eating for two? It’s recommended only an extra 200 calories a day and only in the third trimester. That’s the equivalent to 3 eggs or a whole avocado! Or if you want it in sweet terms 10 werther’s originals or just 41g of a Snickers bar (not even a whole one!)

You can still drink one small cup of coffee a day during pregnancy is perfectly fine. It's another controversial subject for sure, but moderate caffeine intake isn't likely to harm you or your baby. The same goes for soft drinks with a caffeine jolt.

Is exercise safe during pregnancy?

Generally participation in a wide range of recreational activities appears to be safe during pregnancy. However each sport should be reviewed individually for its potential risks. An activity with high risk of falling or with high risk of abdominal trauma should be avoided.

30mins or more of moderate exercise a day on most if not all days of the week is recommended for pregnant women.

Exercising to get back your post pregnancy body

You can return to exercise either 6 weeks post partum after a vaginal birth or 12 weeks post partum after a c-section as long as you’re doctor/gynaecologist has given the ok. But you can begin gentle walking before that and very gentle abdominal work between 2-6 weeks post partum.

If you’ve exercised throughout your pregnancy have no fear the muscles are still there! I promise you they will start functioning again even though it may not feel like it. One thing I learnt was going through labour is essentially like doing a marathon, you need to give your body time to recover afterwards and most importantly be patient with yourself!

Here are some general benefits of exercising:

     Decreased risk of breast cancer – Being overweight can increase you odds of breast cancer by 30-60%, according to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Abdominal fat is particularly dangerous and it can increase your risk by 43%.

     Improved heart health – Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that looked at nearly 15,000 otherwise healthy Korean adults with no known heart disease found that people with a BMI of more than 25 were more likely to show signs of early plaque build up on their arteries when compared to ‘normal weight’ people. This caused researchers to conclude that, even though these people may have been metabolically healthy at the time of the study, their weight was probably still starting to have negative consequences on their health.

     Better sleep – According to a 2012 study from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, losing weight – especially pesky abdominal fat - can help you log higher quality Zzzz. “Fat, and particularly belly fat, interferes with lung function,” says Dr Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., a professor of medicine at John Hopkins University and one of the study authors. “It becomes harder for the lungs to expand because fat is in the way.” And since breathing issues can lead to night time problems like sleep apnea, it takes a toll on your shuteye.

     More motivation to exercise - Recent research published in The International Journal of Obesity suggest that overweight women’s brains respond negatively to the idea of working out - but that the brains of women who are at a healthy weight are positively stimulated by photos of people in the middle of a sweat session.

     Decreased risk of diabetes - For people who are overweight, even minor weight loss is associated with delaying or preventing diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.


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