During a woman’s nine months of pregnancy, her caregiver will probably advise her to eat right and exercise.  However, many women shrug off this advice because staying fit and eating right is a health recommendation for everyone.  Is exercise during pregnancy really necessary, or is it something that can be neglected?  The truth is, prenatal fitness and exercise have so many important benefits that all pregnant women should get active as soon as they are cleared by their doctor.

1.  Women will feel better in general

One of the biggest reasons that pregnant women should exercise is because it influences their general well-being.  Common pregnancy woes are frequently alleviated when women become active, even if they are only doing mild exercises.  Backaches, a pregnancy symptom that usually gets worse as the pregnancy progresses, are one of the first things that women are relieved of when they begin a fitness routine.  The gentle strengthening and toning of leg, butt, and back muscles during physical activity helps improve a pregnant woman’s posture and less strain is placed on the back.  Many expecting mothers also report that constipation is reduced when they partake in regular exercise.  Increased blood flow throughout the body during muscular and physical stimulation helps the intestines to function properly and can reduce the irritating symptoms of constipation that many women experience beginning in the first trimester.

2.  Exercise affects labor

For most women, the most feared aspect of pregnancy is the delivery.  However, research has proved that prenatal exercise affects the level of pain experienced during labor. Studies have confirmed that women who exercise regularly prior to delivery experience a lower perception of pain than women who do not exercise during pregnancy.  The heart and muscles are strengthened during exercise, which makes them more efficient and able to cope with the demands of childbirth.  Regular physical activity can also increase a woman’s endurance, which is something she’ll need in the event of a long labor.

3.  Controls weight gain during pregnancy

Weight gain is an essential element of a healthy pregnancy.  However, expecting mothers need to find the balance between gaining too much weight and not gaining enough weight.  Regular, moderate exercise is a great way to regulate weight gain without counting calories.  Simply taking a 30 minute walk around the block every evening will help the body burn excess calories and prevent moms from piling on the pounds.

4.  Helps a woman’s body bounce back after delivery

If an expecting mother enters labor in a physically fit state, she will typically recover from the delivery faster than others.  Not only will her energy level return sooner, but her body will also return to it’s pre-pregnancy state faster than her non-exercising counterparts.  Even mothers who undergo a cesarean section, a major surgery, will recuperate faster if they are physically fit.

Years ago, pregnant women were encouraged to rest, prop up their feet, and take it easy during their nine months of pregnancy.  While it is still important to get adequate rest, nearly all doctors today advise pregnant women to get active.  Even moms who were not active prior to pregnancy are encouraged to start a light workout routine.