One of those ways is prenatal exercise and yoga. Staying active throughout your pregnancy can be extremely beneficial for you and your baby. Not only will you feel better as your body grows and stretches, but it can help tremendously once you go into labor.
Here in Nashville we have an amazing resource for moms to attend prenatal yoga classes, Blooma Nashville. Owner, Jennifer Derryberry Mann, speaks on this,
“Prenatal yoga supports expectant moms in so many ways. Emotionally, moms find inspiration and reassurance in a class full of pregnant women. The connection and sense of community is so grounding. Physically, prenatal yoga gives moms time to practice using breath and movement to create comfort in the body — such a great skill to have for those intense moments in birth. Mentally and spiritually, prenatal yoga gives an expectant mom a place to turn her attention inward and to make a deeper connection with her body and her baby. Women who’ve practiced prenatal yoga often tell us how much their awareness of breath meant to them during labor. Sometimes a certain yoga pose or way of moving that she learned in prenatal yoga will become a mama’s go-to during labor.”
Not only can exercise during pregnancy give you a better sense of your body to utilize during labor, it can also have great physiological effects. According to studies compiled and reviewed by Evidence Based Birth, exercise before and during pregnancy can significantly lower your risk of gestational diabetes as much as 24-55%. Research has also shown that exercise during pregnancy can significantly reduce a woman’s blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing gestational hypertension (source). In addition to these benefits, women who exercise during pregnancy gain less weight than women who don’t exercise. Investing in a prenatal exercise class or even just investing time into moving more during your day will improve the overall health and wellbeing of you and your growing baby.
Now that you know the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, you may be wondering how often you should exercise to gain these benefits. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women who already participate in an exercise regimen can continue that regimen without major modifications. If you do not exercise regularly it is never too late to start, even during pregnancy. You can begin with low intensity exercise such as walking or yoga for 20-30 minutes, 3 times per week. Always talk to your care provider before beginning a new exercise program.
So whether you love hiking, dancing, or yoga, choose something to get your body moving during pregnancy. I promise your body will thank you during labor and beyond.