The importance of exercise during pregnancy
By Amanda Griffin-Jacob
I learn something new with each pregnancy, probably because I’ve been pregnant so many times. This time around—my fourth one—I became aware of just how important exercise is for a fit pregnancy. When I’m not pregnant, I’m usually quite athletic and healthy. Once I get pregnant, I’m always hit with unrelenting morning sickness, which renders me unable to do much in the way of exercise or eating well. With each child, I’ve always practiced yoga and prenatal yoga. I thought that was enough but it turns out it wasn’t, at least not for me. I had resigned to feeling kind of blah throughout all my pregnancies. I always couldn’t wait until I could get back to working out so I could get my fitness level back up to par. Thankfully, with this baby, I have been able to keep some of my fitness level, so I won’t be starting from zero once I give birth.
During my third pregnancy, my sugar levels were high; they were borderline gestational diabetes. When I was carrying my fourth baby, I was convinced that I would get GD. I tried to control my sugar intake, but I have an insatiable sweet tooth—particularly when I’m cooking a bun in my oven. I decided that this time, I would commit to walking around 15 to 20 kilometers per week once my morning sickness alleviated because I missed running so much. Turned out, I would have to wait until I was five months pregnant to feel more human. As soon as I could I began my walks, usually 5k per walk. I also signed up for a preggy weekly boot camp class to give me more cardio.
When I hit week 27, it was time to do the dreaded glucose screening (sugar test). I was convinced that my sugar levels would be bad, based on my intake and the fact that I was 3 years older than my last pregnancy. When I got my results back—normal—I was so relieved and surprised. I realized that my exercise had really helped in keeping my sugar levels in check. Exercising has also helped me feel less fatigued than I was when I wasn’t really moving much and of course, my favorite by-product: a reduction of stress.
So, my advice to preggy women out there is to incorporate movement and exercise into your routine. I swear by it. Make sure you consult professionals and your gynecologist like I did. My pregnancy boot camp is the best. If you weren’t active before pregnancy then at least start walking. Being sedentary is not okay unless advised by your doctor.
I’m sad that I only discovered the advantages of keeping to a daily exercise and walking routine in my last pregnancy. Better late than never right?