Benefits of Keeping Active
The advantages of being physically active during pregnancy are definitely not just confined to you – it has a direct positive impact on your baby before birth, immediately after birth, and further on throughout life.
- Benefits for you:
- Less aches and pains (back pain, cramps etc.) as your body will be better conditioned and supple;
- Reduced swelling of your hands and feet due to improved circulation;
- Reduced chance of developing blood clots and varicose veins;
- Alleviating nausea as activity diverts blood from your stomach to your muscles;
- Reduction in heart burn;
- Improved sleep quality;
- Overall improved emotional wellbeing (more relaxed, less anxiety and less mood swings) - related to dopamine, endorphins and serotonin release stimulated by physical activity;
- Reduces constipation;
- Reduced risk of developing chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer);
- Healthier weight gain in pregnancy and easier loss of pregnancy weight.
- Getting outdoors in the sunshine naturally elevates mood and boosts vitamin D levels;
- Decreased risk of getting high blood pressure in pregnancy;
- More chance of maintaining an active lifestyle once your baby is born - it will only get harder to make exercise part of your routine as life gets that bit more hectic with a new baby.
- Benefits for your baby:
- More effective nutrient and oxygen delivery and waste removal;
- Reduced fat mass translating to a reduced risk of being overweight or obese later in life; and
- Improved stress tolerance e.g. late pregnancy, labour and birth translating to a reduced risk of delivery complications.
- Improved ability to adjust positively to their environment, and settling after a disruption; and
- More alert, less irritable.
- As they grow
- Better motor skills; and
- Better performance on intelligence tests.
- Before birth:
Exercise helps you feel more energetic. This may be hard to believe if you are out of practice and have been feeling low in energy for some time. Keep in mind that when establishing a regular exercise regime you may feel even more tired than usual for the first couple of weeks – but stick with it because within two weeks your fitness will increase along with your muscle tone, aerobic capacity and feeling of energy – this translates to greater resilience and ability to cope with daily challenges when pregnant.
“I remember being just so tired and all I wanted to do was plonk down in front of the TV but once I got myself up and went for a walk it was amazing just how much better I felt. To help motivate myself I dressed in my fitness clothes and sneakers each day so there was no excuse not to do at least some sort of physical activity and I found it also helped me not to overeat”.
Establish your exercise regime well before your child is born and you will be much more likely to maintain it after the birth. This means you will be a role model to your child - if you want your child to be physically active as they grow up you need to be teaching them by setting an example from early
Ngala Books & DVDs
- For families of babies and
young children who reside or work in W.A.,
if you need further assistance contact the Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or Country Access 1800 111 546
8am to 8pm 7 days a week or
When: 30 Mar, 9:30am
Birth to 4 months: A 5-week series of workshops for parents with a newborn baby. Each workshop covers a wide range of topics about you and your new baby and provides the opportunity to meet and connect with other new parents in your local area.