Most pregnant women, especially when their bellies are showing just how pregnant they are, are told to “slow down” and “take it easy.” Seeing a pregnant woman at the gym in the squat rack lifting more than her body weight, tends to make people cringe.
Yet exercise is good for pregnant women, just as it’s good for everyone (unless your GP advises otherwise). And, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, encourage pregnant women to “maintain a good fitness level by participating in aerobic and strength and conditioning exercises.” (Motherisk.org, 2017)
Exercise can help with a range of pregnancy symptoms:
- Prevent and ease lower back discomfort.
- Prevent gestational diabetes.
- Prevent preeclampsia
- Prevent incontinence.
- Lift mood and generally improve your quality of life.
- Manage stress, depression, and anxiety.
- Sleep better.
- Benefit from healthy weight gain.
- Help you and your baby prepare for, and be less stressed during, labour.
- Set you up for better recovery after labour.
So instead of asking a pregnant jogger “should you be running?” Give her an enthusiastic high-five instead.
(If you’re pregnant and interested in getting your sweat in, see fitfortwo.ca for information on prenatal exercise classes in B.C.)