When you’re struggling with morning sickness in the first trimester of pregnancy, dealing with the changes of your body in the second, or hobbling and wobbling on your way to the bathroom as your due date approaches, exercising might be the last thing on your mind. However, studies suggest that strength training during pregnancy has a great number of benefits not only for the mama but for the baby as well. So if you need some motivation to lace up those dusty sneakers, here it is.
Strength Training during pregnancy has been found to:
1. Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications
Pregnancy is associated with an excess of weight gain which can lead to an increased risk for several complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean deliveries. Exercising while you’re expecting can lower the odds of developing these conditions, protect your body against lower back pain, and improve your postpartum recovery.
2. Reduce stress, anxiety and depression
Studies have shown that almost 30% of pregnant women experience either depression or anxiety during both periods; pregnancy and postpartum. Anxiety during this period has been related to outcomes such as fetal distress, premature labor, low birth weight and possible childhood problems.
Not only does exercise help boost mood, but those “feel good” endorphins that we release during exercise can also help lower stress, anxiety and even depression associated with pregnancy. Women who exercise during this time are 19% less likely to suffer from depression.
3. Improve sleep
Catching a good night sleep during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, can be very challenging.
Many expecting mamas say that working out during pregnancy helps them to get better quality of sleep resulting in feeling more energized and well rested (as long as it’s not near bedtime, which can have the opposite effect). This may be due to its stress reducing benefits.
4. Experience a Shorter Labor
Prenatal training is a great way to strengthen your body for labor and build stamina for your big day. With a safe prenatal exercise program with emphasis on deep core muscles (aka your push muscles), legs, and back, you can improve not only your pregnancy but your delivery. Studies have shown that a strong pelvic floor and core can promote faster labor and delivery as well as help the perineum heal postpartum.
5. Speed post-delivery recovery
The more active you are during pregnancy, the faster you’ll recover physically after childbirth and also cope with the new demands of motherhood better. Additionally, exercise also boosts your immune system which can assist with any incisions or wounds healing faster.
With these benefits in mind, go ahead and get your sweat on. You’ll feel better not only physically but mentally too— go for it!