One thing that I’ve been doing different for this pregnancy is trying to stay active through light exercises. I’ve never done much exercising in my adult life (although I do own a peculiar amount and variety of fitness wear) but after being told repeatedly by various doctors about how it will help in labour and ease my back problems, it very quickly became a priority for me.
If you’re not much of a fitness buff and need a little more convincing like me, here are some benefits of exercising during pregnancy.
1. Energy Boost
This has always been a counter intuitive one for me. I have mild anemia pre-pregnancy so it’s a lot worse during pregnancy and I often struggle with little tasks. Just doing the dishes sometimes leave me breathless, dizzy and out of energy. Most days, I have to battle the urge to just lay in bed with exercise being the last thing on my mind. However, I do find myself enjoying an energy boost even after a short 10 minute pregnancy warm up from the comfort of my living room. I love how it revives me and gets me going.
2. Efficiency of Labour
‘The fitter your body is, the more efficient it tends to be at labour’. This piece of advice from my OB has stayed with me and I definitely am hoping for a smoother, more efficient labour this time round after having a terrible experience the last time for 18 hours. Labour involves endurance and stamina amongst others and some research has even shown that pregnant women who exercise more might have shorter labours.
3. Helps with physical discomfort
I have quite severe back pain and tail bone pain during pregnancy stemming from a bad back condition from my teenage years. Some days, I can only limp around or walk really slowly. Again, all it makes me want to do is lay down and not move much. However, some slow and gentle stretches suggested by my physiotherapist have really helped to ease the pain and strain. My physio also mentioned that many pregnant women put up with a lot of pain and discomfort when some simple stretches can really make a difference. If you also suffer from a lot of physical discomfort, light stretches and exercises are worth looking into. Although I can’t say it’s a cure-all, it can certainly make a lot of difference from my own personal experience.
4. Mood Lifter
As with any other exercise, serotonin is produced in the brain, helping to lift your moods. Keeping active helps to reduce stress, anxiety and gives you an overall happy boost. I find that exercise puts that extra spring in my step and helps me do other tasks with a little bit more ease and efficiency. Research has also shown that keeping active can help lower the chances of pre and post natal depression.
I do most of my stretches and exercises in the comfort of my own home since it’s difficult for me to get time alone to go outside without my 3 year old. I do a mixture of pregnancy warm ups from youtube and from my physiotherapist. As always, be sure to check with your doctor about the suitability of the exercises during pregnancy and remember to take it easy!