You already know that exercise is good for you, but it’s especially beneficial when you’re pregnant.
It’s such an important part of a healthy pregnancy that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most or all days of the week (as long as your provider hasn’t ruled out exercise or limited your physical activities because of a medical condition or complication).
Here are eight ways exercising during pregnancy benefits you and your baby. Working out when you’re pregnant can:
1. Boost your energy
Pregnancy saps your energy, but regular exercise can help you get through your daily tasks or cope with a demanding schedule more easily. That’s because exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, so you don’t tire as easily and you have the energy to ride out stressful times. And with strong, toned muscles, you don’t need to put in as much effort to engage in any activity, whether it’s grocery shopping or sitting through meetings at the office.
Before you hop on the treadmill or into the pool, make sure you read through these safety guidelines and see our tips on starting an exercise program.
2. Help you sleep better
As your pregnancy progresses, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a real challenge. But exercise can tire you out enough to lull you into a more restful sleep. (Get more tips for sleeping well during pregnancy.)
3. Lower your risk of certain pregnancy-related complications
Studies suggest that exercising during pregnancy can lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
(If you’ve been diagnosed with preeclampsia or gestational hypertension, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about exercising. Depending on your condition and how far along you are in your pregnancy, she may ask you to limit or avoid physical activity.)
In women who develop gestational diabetes, regular exercise can make an important difference: One major study found that when women with gestational diabetes exercised moderately three times a week, their risk of having a macrosomic (very large) newborn was reduced by 58 percent, which led to a 34 percent lower risk of a cesarean delivery.
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