We’re 23 weeks today! That means we’ve officially entered the beginning our 6th month! “Only” 4ish more to go! 😂
And I’m still running!! I’ve cut back quite a bit but I’m still staying relatively active and I’m very grateful that I can! So today I wanted to talk a little bit about the benefits of exercising while pregnant!
I’m not a doctor of any sort so take everything I say with a grain of salt. 😉 That being said, these are all benefits of exercise during pregnancy that I’ve either experienced thus far, or have found in my research and endless reading on the topic.
Always consult with your care provider before starting a workout program.
That being said, my midwife and almost every article and book on the topic that you read usually advises that you can safely continue to do any kind of workout/exercise you were doing pre-pregnancy. With the obvious modifications that might need to happen to accommodate a growing belly and a shifting center of balance.
Now with that all out of the way, let’s crack into our topic for this post!
Benefits Of Exercise While Pregnant:
Running is literally the only thing that’s been able to put a dent in the back pain that I’ve been experiencing throughout this entire pregnancy. And let’s be real, the only kind of pain medication you can take while pregnant is Tylenol and Tylenol has literally NEVER done anything for me pain relief-wise. So I haven’t bothered with that and just stick to running and yoga for pain relief instead!
Helps boost your mood
Endorphins can be one hell of a drug and while you’re pregnant that and elusive runner’s high is the only kind of high you can experience without any potential adverse side effects to you or your fetus, so you might as well chase after it. 🏃🏻♀️😂
And even if you don’t manage to catch up to a real runner’s high (I’ve literally only actually experienced it two or three times in my seven years of running) you’ll still likely feel the mood boosting benefits of any exercise that you do!
Helps improve sleep
I’m going to be real with you (but honestly when aren’t I? 🤷🏻♀️), one of the biggest reasons that I hate being pregnant is how fucking hard it is to sleep.
But exercising while pregnant is supposed to improve the quality of your sleep for all of the same reasons exercise helps improve your sleep when you aren’t pregnant. Basically it all comes down to the fact that our bodies like to move and be active, exercise makes you tired, and helps with anxiety and depression that might be causing issues with sleep.
That being said, exercise hasn’t improved my sleep much. But it has been helpful in a very small way but only if I do some easy yoga or go for a nice walk too long before bed; it puts my baby to sleep.
I’m not sure if RJ actually likes the fact that I run/try to stay active or it it just bores him to sleep (more likely than not it’s just the gentle rocking motion that he’s probably experiencing), but either way so far it’s been a very reliable method of putting his ass to sleep. Because otherwise he likes to be very active the second I lay down in bed and even though I’m only 23 weeks pregnant those little movements that are getting stronger every day can make it really hard to fall asleep.
I swear this kid is training to be an Olympic swimmer. One night it felt like he was doing flip turns off of the sides of my uterus all night. That coupled with the fact that it’s literally impossible to actually get comfortable right now I didn’t sleep much that night. I should have gone for a walk before bed. 😂
It’s good for your baby
There’s like, a whole bunch of studies that go over all of the potential benefits (and I’ve read about A LOT of them) that your baby gets when you exercise while pregnant. So that helps motivate me to leave the comfort of my heating pad, set down my snacks, and get a quick workout in. 😉
Seriously though if you just do a quick google search of “how does exercise during pregnancy benefit the baby” and you’ll see what I mean.
Helps Prepare your body for labor and delivery
Honestly I’m not even remotely scared or worried about the whole birthing process. I’m an endurance athlete. My body is strong (maybe not as strong as it has been, but it’s still probably more fit than the average American if we’re still being honest), healthy, and I’ve trained my mind to embrace pain and long, hard efforts. In a weird way running and exercise in general has prepared me for this in a way that maybe a non-distance runner/athlete wouldn’t necessarily experience.
Currently I’m really interested in seeing how my body handles the birthing process. I’m interested in seeing just what my body is capable of doing, which is one of the many reasons why I plan on doing this with no pain relief or any kind of medical intervention as long as that’s safe for us. If it was exclusively up to me I wouldn’t even be giving birth in a hospital but my husband isn’t comfortable with that. Which is fair and valid for reasons that are personal and I won’t be talking about right now.
That being said, I don’t think there is any “right” or “wrong” way to bring a baby into this world. You gotta do what right (and sometimes medically necessary) for you and your baby and I’ll never judge anyone for those very personal decisions that you have to make.
But this is my truth; right now I think a non-medicated birth, with no unnecessary medical intervention, and definitely not while lying on my back is what’s going to be best for me and RJ. And I honestly believe I’ll be able to get through all of that because of all of the running and training I’ve done. I also have a really high threshold for pain which will probably come in handy as well.😂
Potentially leads to a shorter labor, fewer birth complications, and a faster postpartum recovery
Obviously the jury is still out on all of this because is it’s definitely not always the case and issues can arise no matter how fit or healthy you are, but if there’s even a small chance that it could help in any of these departments I’ll definitely take it!! And the potential of any of the above actually happening is definitely motivating for me to keep exercising throughout the entirety of my pregnancy!🤷🏻♀️😂 As always assuming that it is safe to do so and I’m still cleared by my midwife to keep going.
These points are really just a few of the potential benefits exercising while pregnant! But they are all reasons that I have either experienced or that resonate with me.
In my personal opinion I think that as long as it’s cleared by a care provider, exercising in whatever way feels best to you in whatever capacity that you can (gentle yoga and nice, leisurely walks definitely count, folks!) is incredibly impactful to you and your baby in some really amazing and beneficial ways!
But don’t just take my word for it. ALWAYS consult with your care provider with any questions or concerns that you might have.