Curious as to what your baby experiences when you exercise during your pregnancy? What experts know about fitness’s effects on your baby may surprise you.
You probably already know that exercising while you’re pregnant brings big benefits to you and your baby. But how exactly does fitness impact your baby in utero? Here’s what the research has shown.
The feel-good effect of exercise can help keep your baby healthy. Emerging research has suggested that stress during pregnancy could have an effect on a baby’s immune response. But as regular exercisers know, endorphins—the positive “runner’s high” hormones that are released when you’re working out—can ease your stress, making both you and your baby feel better.
Deep breathing. Perhaps without you even realizing it, your body has already made changes to allow you to take in more oxygen at rest. Prenatal yoga, Pilates, and other activities that focus on breathing help make every breath count even more.
Exercise can make birth easier for your baby. Emerging research suggests that moms-to-be who exercised during pregnancy had babies who tended to show fewer signs of fetal distress during delivery.
As long as your pregnancy isn’t high-risk and you have your doctor’s OK, exercise is beneficial for you and your baby. To keep the experience positive for you both, keep this in mind:
- Be careful not to push yourself too hard. If you’re out of breath, it’s not just you that needs more oxygen—your baby does, too. If you can’t carry on a conversation while you’re working out, take it a little easier.
- Keep your body temperature in check. Becoming overheated could potentially cause problems with your baby’s development, especially in the first trimester. Avoid exercise during the warmest parts of the day (or keep your workouts confined to an air-conditioned space) and remember to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.