How Exercising During Pregnancy Can Benefit Both Mom and Baby

Pregnancy might seem like the time to sit back and relax—you feel fatigued, your back aches, and putting shoes on alone feels like an Olympic sport.

Health & Wellness
 Min read
November 1, 2022

Your body goes through a lot of changes throughout the nine months of your pregnancy–from the first trimester morning sickness to the emerging baby bump in the second to the Braxton Hicks Contractions in the third.

Pregnancy might seem like the time to sit back and relax—you feel fatigued, your back aches, and putting shoes on alone feels like an Olympic sport. 

But in most pregnancies, sitting around won’t help. In fact, The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week during a healthy pregnancy, as it offers some amazing benefits for both you and your little one. 

Improves your mood

Women today are probably aware of the warning signs of postpartum depression and anxiety but did you know women are also susceptible to these conditions during a pregnancy? 

Antenatal depression and anxiety are common with about 10% of women experiencing an increase in these feelings while expecting. 

Exercise, of course, can help improve your mental and emotional health by releasing endorphins and diminishing stress. Research has shown that aerobic exercise during pregnancy helped reduce depressive symptoms in first-time moms. ¹

Increases energy levels

Whether it's the first trimester fatigue or pregnancy-induced insomnia, expecting women will often report feeling tired or sluggish. Gentle to moderate exercise can help improve your energy levels during the day as well as your quality of sleep, giving you the rest your body needs. 

Reduces the risk of pregnancy complications

Exercising during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of developing complications like Gestational diabetes and Pre-eclampsia, which can cause premature birth and other health issues for you and your baby. 

Gestational diabetes, or high glucose levels, is the most common complication you face during pregnancy. Exercise helps your muscle cells use more of your body’s glucose and can help make your body more sensitive to insulin, keeping your blood sugar levels lower for a longer time. 

However, if you do develop Gestational diabetes, exercise can help regulate your blood sugar levels and manage your symptoms. 

Exercise can also help reduce your risk of Pre-eclampsia by lowering blood pressure.

Eases pain and discomfort

Pregnant women become well acquainted with all of the aches and pains that come with growing a baby. Hormones, a change in posture, and loosening ligaments cause pain in your lower back and pelvis that can last for several months during your pregnancy. Incorporating gentle movements and exercise can help manage your discomfort. 

Prepares you for labor

Exercise can help prepare you to undergo the physically intensive challenge of labor and delivery by strengthening your muscles, improving your stamina, and enhancing your heart health. Studies have also shown that regular exercise during pregnancy can even reduce the need for a cesarean section. ²

Benefits for Baby

Prenatal exercise is not only good for you, Mama– it’s good for your baby too. Exercise during pregnancy: 

-encourages full-term delivery

-normalizes birth sizes 

-stimulates healthy growth throughout childhood

-decreases risk for chronic illness in both child and mother ³

Pietra Fitness Online Studio now offers pregnancy resources and prenatal and postnatal fitness classes to help keep you and your baby happy and healthy. 

Our first resource is a series of informational videos from Dr. Jillian Stecklein, PT, DPT, a recommended provider on My Catholic Doctor who specializes in women’s health. Dr. Stecklein will walk you through the birthing journey, nutritional needs during pregnancy, how to activate the pelvic floor, exercise considerations for pregnancy, postpartum care and more. 

Our new prenatal classes were designed to assist moms to feel comfortable in their changing bodies and help improve the nervous system by calming the mind and nervous system, which will aid in pain management during labor. 

The classes will also aid in building stamina and strength, as well as help in balancing changing hormones and reducing stress. And of course, as in all of our classes, it includes prayer and Scripture readings that will nurture your soul during this beautiful season. 

Sign up and get started today!

Pietra Fitness