We all know that staying fit and healthy is good for us, but did you know it's even more important when trying for a baby, pregnant or being a new mum?
If done sensibly whilst following a few 'rules', the benefits of training for mums-to-be or new mums are pretty major (an easier birth?! Yes please). And it's not only the mother who benefits- The baby does too.
Pre-Natal Training Perks
- Helps keep the mother at a healthy pregnancy weight. This usually means a better self-image, more mobility throughout pregnancy and less to lose post-birth to get back to a healthy weight.
- Improves circulation, thus helping to reduce swelling.
- Helps prepare the baby for the trauma of late pregnancy and birth. (Clapp, 2002)
- Reduced chances of lower back pain by strengthening and/or stretching certain muscles as the body changes shape.
- Can help reduce length of labour (hurrah!) and decrease likelihood of complications. A stronger body tends to make for an easier birth. (Paisley et al, 2003)
- Can reduce chances of gestational diabetes and/or help to control the symptoms (along with a healthy balanced diet). (Bung and Artal, 1996)
- Improves co-ordination and body awareness- Important for when the body shape changes so much that the mother's centre of gravity also moves. This is why many pregnant women can often feel 'unbalanced' and at risk of trips and bumps.
- Healthier mums= Healthier babies. Babies from fitter mums have been shown to have more favourable heart rates and behavioural responses. (Clapp, 2002)
- Significantly reduced fatigue (and less chance of varicose veins so this guy says. Bonus.)
(Wallace et al, 1986)
- Maintains any current levels of fitness so you're not back to square one post-birth.
- Can aid quicker recovery after giving birth. Definitely a good thing.
If done correctly, pre-natal exercise can continue up until the mother no longer feels comfortable doing it. This may be up until the third trimester or possibly all the way up to due date. No two bodies are the same so it's impossible to have a hard and fast rule.
Post-Natal Training Perks
- Quicker post-natal recovery and getting back to feeling 'normal' in your body.
- Exercise= Release of those feel-good endorphins. Pretty important if you're at risk of post-natal depression.
- Improved posture from regaining core strength and body awareness.
- A stronger pelvic floor= Reduced risk of post-natal incontinence.
- Increased energy and stamina- A pretty decent benefit when caring for a new-born!
- Increased metabolic rate, thus increased fat loss (when paired with a healthy balanced diet) meaning getting back to a healthy weight shouldn't be so tough.
- The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology also lists reduced anxiety and raised positive mood as two more benefits.
- Finally, some YOU time in between juggling baby and life to just de-stress and focus on what you're doing.
Having given birth, it's important to follow doctors advice on healing times. This usually takes about 6-12 weeks but very much depends on type of birth and whether there were any complications.
So all in all: Exercise and healthy living for the win!
Good luck and happy parenting!
If you're thinking of starting a family, are currently pregnant, or have just had a baby and would like more info on personal training then have a look here before finding your perfect program ❤
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