Pregnancy is, quite literally, a bodily function. And the body works best when it’s given what it needs. And it turns out that our bodies need a little working out. Research clearly shows that you–and your baby–can benefit enormously now, and possibly for years to come, by keeping active and working out during pregnancy. This can feel very daunting in the first trimester when all you want to do is sleep and eat plain bagels. (Don’t worry! There has to be an evolutionary reason for this, it’ll pass soon enough).
And it can feel daunting in general: Pregnancy is already a work-out. You have 50% more blood volume moving through sluggish veins; your metabolism changes; you need sleep (like a growing kid); and you’ve got more weight and pressure that can really slow you down.
But there are so many ways to work up a sweat during pregnancy that can be actually fun or at least help reduce your aches, pains and third trimester insomnia. It may just be that you go for lots and lots of walks, always take the stairs and generally stay mobile and active. You could also try to swim a few times a week, or take prenatal yoga classes when you have time. Downloadable prenatal workouts make keeping fit easier than ever.
Our culture has thrown up some obstacles to pregnancy fitness–we drive, we sit in front of computers, we sit in front of the TV. But our bodies were built for walking, carrying things, bending, leaning, squatting. In our modern world we may not be out in the fields pulling up root vegetables but we can do a low-impact cardio workout in the den!
According to the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists, “In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise a day on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended for pregnant women.”
So on that note, here are eight really great motivators for getting some kind of regular exercise during pregnancy
Ceridwen Morris, CCE, is a writer, childbirth educator and the co-author of From The Hips: A Comprehensive, Open-Minded, Uncensored, Totally Honest Guide to Pregnancy, Birth and Becoming a Parent. Follow her on Facebook.