Moving Through Pregnancy
We live in such a weird time – what I really want to do today is encourage you to move more, and to play and dance and have fun as a pregnant person. So why am I thinking it’s a weird time?
First I think about how much fun it is to dance and play.
Then I think about all the ways you can sue me if I tell you to go have fun and then something goes wrong. That’s so bad! So let’s do it in that order, and first I’m going to tell you why you should enjoy your body and moving and dancing and playing while you are pregnant. Then I’ll send you to a good website for all the caveats.
Here’s six good reasons to exercise while you are pregnant.
- Your baby will be a good weight – and the birth will go easier.
Research shows that getting exercise will decrease your chances of getting gestational diabetes. That means your baby will be a healthy weight, leading to a better labor and a baby who is what most people call “a good size” instead of “a real chunko”!
- You’ll enhance that pregnancy glow.
Exercise does wonders for your circulation. Your complexion will improve – and so will the circulation in your legs! You’re less likely to have problems with swelling if you’re moving.
- Learning how to work with your body – what feels good and what doesn’t – will make for a more satisfying labor
Women who enjoy working with their bodies – anything from yoga to horseback riding to walking to swimming – tend to learn how to use their breath to help them stay centered, find a rhythm that works, what is good pain and what is bad pain. Knowing yourself will help you to pace yourself and move around during labor. One study found that the labors of women who were sedentary were 1/3 longer than women who moved during pregnancy!
- Your baby’s heart will be healthier
Don’t ask me how – but the hearts of children whose moms exercise are healthier!
- You will sleep better
The sleep benefit is true when we’re not pregnant, too. When you exercise during pregnancy, there’s a tendency to fall asleep faster. Moms found that even during the first trimester, exercise helped them feel more energetic.
- Your mood will be better – now and after the birth
Moms who don’t exercise are more likely to suffer from depression – both prenatally and postpartum. (By the way, if you’d like some great ideas for staying on an even keel emotionally during this challenging time in your life, check out The Uppity Science Chick’s advice at Non-Drug Treatments for Depression in Pregnant and Post partum Women.
A couple of years ago, some studies were done that showed moms who weren’t exercising much before they got pregnant, really felt nervous about getting started during pregnancy, because they might hurt their babies. Good ways to get a bit more movement into your life? Don’t feel like you have to take up horseback riding or bicycling long distances while you are pregnant!
- Take the stairs – even if it’s just one flight! Good for your lungs, your heart, and you are opening your pelvis in a lunge as you do it.
- Dance – Any kind that you like! Take a belly dancing class (no – really!) or a very-beginner jazz or ballet class…Just be sure you find a class where you can feel beautiful and competent. Or just put on some of your faves and move…then go out with your partner or your girlfriends and enjoy moving! You will get lots of smiles, guaranteed.
- Swim – as warm weather come upon us, so does swelling and discomfort. Some people just buy a kiddie pool – but why not enjoy moving in a medium that will make you feel svelte!
- Prenatal Yoga – specially designed to help you feel better, look better, and get ready for the birth.
As for all that “Beware” advice – talk to your doctor or midwife. Here’s how the sentence starts: “I’ve decided I needed to put some more movement into my life, and I plan to take up ———– Do you have any advice for me?” They will give you great encouragement!