Research has shown that exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for both the mother and baby and may result in an easier birth experience and a faster recovery.
International research has shown that during labour, women who perform cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercise during pregnancy enjoy the following benefits:
35 percent decrease in the need for pain relief
50% less likely to be induced and need intervention in labour(fewer cases of fetal heart abnormalities)
75% decrease in the need for forceps and caesarean sections
Regular exercise has been seen to shorten labour by a third.
Click here to read similar stats showing how you can have a shorter, less-painful labor by having a doula.
As a qualified aerobics instructor and doula, I was impressed by the research showing that exercise during pregnancy may result in a shorter, easier labors.
During my pregnancy, I attended some pregnancy exercise classes, but I decided a home pregnancy workout DVD would be more convenient.
After researching various pregnancy exercise workouts, I decided on the Preggie Bellies - Exercise for Pregnancy DVD.
My number one reason for choosing this program was safety. Read more...
Other benefits to the pregnant woman include limiting the deposit of fat, reducing pregnancy weight gain.
Strength training helps relieve pregnancy discomforts such as back pain and pelvic pain.
Exercise also improves the immune system.
Pregnancy exercise also results in an improved sense of well-being and a good body image.
It also give a woman extra energy and prepares the body for labor by increasing stamina and muscle strength.
Interestingly, women who only walked during pregnancy did not enjoy the benefits listed above!
Studies show that during labor, the babies of women who exercise experience less lack of oxygen. They also tolerated contractions better than the non-exercise group.
The incidences of cord entanglement and meconium staining (fetal distress) was significantly less when mothers exercised during pregnancy.
Research also shows that women who exercise moderately during pregnancy give birth to slightly smaller babies, which may reduce the child's risk of later obesity.*
After birth the babies of mothers who exercise tend to be more alert and easier to care for.
Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, James F. Clapp III M.D.
*Paul Hofman, MD, Researcher, University of Auckland, New Zealand, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, May 2010.
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