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Exercise during pregnancy: why it’s important

Exercise is always vital for a person’s health, but when you’re pregnant, it matters even more! Baby can’t exactly exercise for themselves, so you need to make sure you get enough.

Exercise is vital during pregnancy for many reasons, including managing and preventing symptoms, pacing your weight gain to healthy levels, preparing your body for labor, and keeping Baby as healthy as possible.

  • Managing and preventing symptoms: Although they may not be entirely preventable, exercise can help stave off or manage certain common pregnancy symptoms like swelling, bloating, constipation, and varicose veins. Exercise is an excellent way to keep the circulatory system running smoothly, as your bodily systems tend to slow down during pregnancy due to an increase of hormones like progesterone and relaxin. Although working out can be difficult, particularly later in pregnancy, even a walk around the block can do wonders for certain symptoms.
  • Pacing weight gain: While gaining too little weight tends to be more of an issue than too much, exercise is a great way to ensure a steady, proper weight gain. Gaining too much weight can put you at risk for certain complications like gestational diabetes and having a baby with too high of a birth weight, so exercise is a vital part of any paced weight gain.
  • Preparing body for labor: In case you haven’t heard by now, labor isn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, building strength in your lower body, core, and pelvic muscles is a highly effective means of preparing your body to deal with the physical and mental stress of labor.
  • Keeping Baby healthy: A 2013 study out of the University of Montreal indicates that exercise during pregnancy may not just keep you healthy, but may boost your baby’s brain activity as well. Baby is completely dependent on you for keeping healthy, of which exercise is a vital piece.

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Sources
  • Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
  • Robledo-Colonia AF, Sandoval-Restrepo N, Mosquera-Valderrama YF, Escobar-Hurtado C, Ramirez-Velez R. “Aerobic exercise training during pregnancy reduces depressive symptoms in nulliparous women: a randomised trial.” Journal of Physiotherapy. 58(1):9-15. Web. 2012.
  • B Sternfeld, CP Quesenberry Jr, B Eskenazi, LA Newman. “Exercise during pregnancy and pregnancy outcome.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 27(5):634-40. Web. May-95.
  • E Labonte-Lemoyne, D Curnier, D Ellemberg. “Foetal brain development is influenced by maternal exercise during pregnancy.” AbstractsOnline. Kinesiology, University of Montreal, 11/10/2013. Web.
  • Committee on Obstetric Practice. “Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: Committee Opinion Number 267.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 1/2/2015. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Pregnancy weight gain: What’s healthy?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 3/4/2014. Web.
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