Let’s take a look at the benefits of pregnancy and exercise and how it assists with labour and birth:
- Improved core strength to support your spine and help you carry your baby around during pregnancy and during labour and birth.
- Improved posture to minimise back pain.
- Improve your mood during pregnancy and to create a positive mindset for labour and birth.
- Improved muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness so you can cope with labour better.
- Tone your lower body to handle the demands of labour and birth.
- Strengthen your upper body to lift and hold your baby afterwards and so you can hold yourself up during labour and pushing.
- Reduced likelihood of experiencing symptoms associated with pregnancy including: leg cramps, swelling, constipation, varicose veins, back pain and incontinence.
- Decreased risk of gestational diabetes, plus exercise helps to control gestational diabetes during pregnancy for reduced chances of a bigger baby at birth.
- Confidence in own ability to cope with labour and birth.
- Improved circulation and blood flow for mum and baby.
- Improved relaxation and possible improved sleep patterns.
- Enhanced mental wellbeing, improved self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Lower chance of developing high blood pressure.
- Improved recovery time after birth.
- Increased placental growth and functional capacity.
- Easier, shorter and less chance of a complicated birth.
- Improved aspects of growth and development post birth.
- Reduction in the need for analgesia.
- Reduction in the need for Induction of Labour which can include artificially rupture of the membranes and oxytocins infusion to stimulate contractions.
- Reduction in the need for an episiotomy.
- Reduction in the need for an instrumental birth (forceps or vacuum).
- Reduction on the need of a caesarean.
Cardiovascular Training in pregnancy along with strength training has also proven benefits for the mother for the pregnancy and during her labour and birth. These include:
- Improved circulation and flexibility.
- Increased energy, strength, endurance, and muscular coordination.
- Reduced discomfort from water retention.
- Reduced tension, stress and depression.
- Fewer stretch marks, varicose veins, and abdominal separation.
- Decreased likelihood of postnatal depression.
- Increased ability to relax.
Recommendations to be active during your pregnancy until you give birth:To achieve and maintain a reasonable level of fitness aim for one of the following:
- a session of moderate intensity exercise on all or most days of the week.
- at least 150 minutes of exercise over a week.
- 10,000 steps per day.
https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/pregnancy-and-birth/a-healthy-pregnancy/active-pregnancy https://www.physicalactivityaustralia.org.au/pregnancy-and-exercise https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2014/august/exercise-in-pregnancy https://ranzcog.edu.au/womens-health/patient-information-resources/exercise-during-pregnancy