12 reasons prenatal exercise is better than beethoven
Kat Guessard, certified prenatal and postnatal fitness instructor
There are many misconceptions about what women should and shouldn’t be doing during their pregnancy and they have steered soon-to-be mamas in the wrong direction for basically, ever. Some of these myths include the green light to overindulge in calories because you’re “eating for two,” that listening to classical music will guarantee an Einstein baby and the worst of them all, the idea that exercise is bad for pregnancy.
Sure, you can sit on your couch eating cheeseburgers and basking in Beethoven while doing kegels all day, but please don’t. Exercise during pregnancy is crucial to your mind, body and soul. Strong inner thigh, quad and hamstring muscles will be your best friend when your doctor is yelling “PUSH!” Cardio releases endorphins which will help stabilize all the anxiety that can keep you up at night. Even more appealing is the fact that exercise is a natural remedy for insomnia, something that plagues pregnant mamas when they need sleep the most. And if you take a prenatal group fitness class like Fit4Baby, you’ll make new friends who won’t mind if you have to pee every 5 minutes during cardio.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which updated its recommendations in 2015, women without major complications should get at least 20 or 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on most days of the week. But what if you haven’t been exercising? For a long time, the belief was that if you weren’t already exercising, pregnancy wasn’t a good time to start. Lucky for you and your baby, you can absolutely start a new routine during pregnancy. Start slowly and gradually increase your activity until you meet the ACOG guidelines and reap the positive benefits, but be sure to get the green light from your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
Speaking of benefits, the list grows longer every year. If there were a pill with all of these benefits, it would fly off the shelves. Fortunately, all you have to pop is a squat!
Studies show that prenatal exercise:
Reduces back pain
Eases constipation and bloating
Improves maternal mood
May decrease risk of preeclampsia, a forceps delivery or a cesarean section
Promotes healthy weight gain and lowers the risk of gestational diabetes
Significantly alters the vascular smooth muscle of an infant’s heart and may reduce their susceptibility to cardiovascular disease for a lifespan
Helps you shed baby weight more quickly after baby is born
Less likely to birth a larger baby
More likely to have longer, better quality sleep
Your labor may be shorter
Reduces your risk of catching a cold by as much as half
Whether your focus is spending less time trying to lose the baby weight or building endurance to push your baby out of you and into the wild, working out when you are pregnant is the most effective way to strive for a healthy, happy pregnancy and a smooth delivery. So get those beautiful bodies moving, mamas!
Kat Guessard is a certified prenatal and postnatal fitness instructor and the owner of FIT4MOM SF Valley & Northeast LA. Sign up for her prenatal class, Fit4Baby at Bini Birth every Wednesday at 7pm.