Mercola has a great article about the extensive benefits to mom and baby from exercising while pregnant. According to a new report, physicians should recommend low to moderate levels of exercise to their pregnant patients, even if they have not exercised prior to pregnancy.
Exercise can strengthen and improve overall musculoskeletal and physiologic health as well as pregnancy related symptoms.
Some of those exercises are:
- Both impact and nonimpact activities
- Resistance training (weight training)
Previous studies have shown that:
- Women who exercise throughout their pregnancies have larger placentas than their more sedentary peers. Because the placenta’s job is to transport nutritients and oxygen to the baby, having a large on will lead to a healthier baby.
- Women who exercised at the same rate throughout their pregnancy, or boosted the intensity of their exercise regimen later in pregnancy, gave birth to infants who were lighter and had less body fat than women who slowed down in the final trimester.
- Pregnant women who exercised three to four times a week seemed to have the best chance of having a healthy weight baby. Exercising more than four times a week, or less than three, was linked to lower birth weight (but not dangerously low birth weight).
- Back pain and leg cramps regularly experienced during pregnancy avoided with proper conditioning and physical exercise.
- Exercising during your pregnancy will help keep your muscles conditioned to handle the increasing weight, and can be very beneficial for both preventive and rehabilitative management.
Aside from optimizing your baby’s nutrient supply and avoiding annoying aches and pains during pregnancy, exercising during this time has other health benefits, including:
- Reduced Risk of allstones, which is a fairly common problem for many pregnant women. Serious cases may even require surgical intervention, which is far more risky during pregnancy.
- Reduced Risk of Preterm Birth. The risk of delivering a baby during the first 37 weeks of pregnancy, known as preterm birth, has been found to be reduced in women who engage in vigorous activity such as jogging or bicycling.
- All-Natural Post Partum Depression Relief. Dr. James S. Gordon, a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression and anxiety, states that physical movement can, Improve your mood, relieve your anxiety, alleviate your symptoms of depression.
So sticking to your exercise regimen while you are pregnant can go a long way to insulate you from the pre- and post-partum depression episodes that plague so many pregnant women. Numerous studies have found that exercise is at least as good as, or better, than antidepressants for depression.
The main reason for this is because physical exercise changes the level of serotonin in your brain. It also increases your levels of endorphins, your “feel good” hormones.
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