Movement During Pregnancy
Movement is LIFE.
I say this all the time, but it's so true. We were made to move, and unfortunately, our current society no longer supports the moving body, nor does it appropriately emphasize this important part of human life!
Movement, daily, is essential for our longevity. Not 2-3 times a week for an hour in the gym, but daily/habitual movement.
Something as simple as walking, tossing a ball to your dog, dancing in the kitchen, crawling on the ground with your littles, going for a swim, playing in the backyard with your family. Movement.
Not only is movement vital for our joints, muscles, spine, posture, mood, and mental health (yes, it's that important), it's also a key component to pregnancy and birth.
Movement during pregnancy
Movement during pregnancy is an essential part of a healthy pregnant body. It helps reduce the likelihood of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, pain/discomfort, diastasis recti, and pelvic floor dysfunction. It also helps to elevate energy levels, enhance mood, and pump vital oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby.
Movement in the form of strength training has been proven to be the most effective type of exercise for the body during pregnancy, as it draws upon primal movement patters (squat, bend, push, pull, lunge, twist), and increases pelvic floor muscle tone, arm strength, and endurance. All of which prepare the body for birth and life after baby.
When my second time mom clients join me after not having worked with me or exercised at all for their first pregnancy, they unanimously agree they feel loads better for the pregnancy in which movement/activity was a part of their lifestyle.
This activity benefits them in the birthing room as well, because women who exercise are 50% less likely to be induced, and 75% less likely to have a C-Section.
I don't know about you, but with Louisiana leading the nation in C-Section rates, that's reason enough to exercise.
The body is toned, fit, and ready for the marathon of birth. The mother feels confident in her body and in her abilities. She can continue to labor without intervention, and she is more likely to go into labor on her own because movement moves labor.
Movement moves labor
Movement is a key component to going into labor and to laboring in an efficient way. When we arrive at the hospital and sit in the bed, chances are thing will come to a halt. Because the body needs to move in order to help baby works his/her way down and out. Sitting/laying during labor in a static state for hours on end is the worst thing you can do. Instead, aim for movement or a position change every 15-30 minutes.
Movement helps the baby because when we move our muscles stretch, contract, manipulate the hip bones, move the uterus, work with gravity, and help the process of baby wiggling into the perfect "engaged" position - head pressing on the cervix. There is a general lack of education regarding birth in our area, but my advice is to always do what comes naturally during birth - and that is always some kind movement - swaying, rocking, walking.
As far as exercise during pregnancy, what if you viewed birth as an event, like a marathon. Chances are you would train in some way for a marathon. When we do nothing during pregnancy, we are setting ourselves up for difficulty. I think we can all agree that movement is healthy, and being healthy during pregnancy increases your chances of a birth that moves efficiently, is easy to recover from, and doesn't require all the rehabbing in the world to address issues sustained from carrying the weight of the baby. Yes, movement is that important.