As a first time Mom..
Labor is scary to me. I know people who had labors lasting as long as 36 or over 40 hours. The idea of doing anything for two days straight sounds awful, especially when there’s a lot of pain and uncomfortable actions involved. So once I found out I was pregnant, I started researching what could I do to hopefully have a shortened labor time. And I was pleased with what I found. So happy that I just had to share with you all.
Exercise during pregnancy
For a long time, it was frowned upon for expectant mothers to do much more than lay around all day. Many women were told to just not workout once they were pregnant. This stemmed from the belief that exercise could somehow affect the fetus in a negative way. Doctors were concerned for early deliveries or perhaps fetus deformities from the increased activity. Thankfully, research actually shows quite the opposite.
A study done in Spain found that women who exercise just three times per week during pregnancy have a shorter labor. The women who exercised had a total labor time that was an average of 57 minutes shorter than the women not led in exercise. Not just labor time affected, the women in the exercise group were also less likely to get an epidural. Another notable difference, the women who didn’t exercise reported higher weight gain during pregnancy.
Shortened labor time
So how much exercise is enough? Pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity according to the CDC. In addition to the shortened labor benefit found in the study, exercising during pregnancy may also help decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean delivery, reduce back pain, strengthen heart and blood vessels, and give other benefits, notes the ACOG. With all these benefits, exercise should be a no-brainer, right?
It is important to note that before starting any exercise program you should talk to your doctor. With your doctor’s approval, the intensity of your workouts depends on your level of physical fitness before becoming pregnant. Women who are very active before pregnancy can maintain the same intensity of workouts with their healthcare professional’s approval. Women who are just getting started should ease into the exercises. I’m currently working on workout programs geared towards both beginners and more active expectant Mothers. Stay tuned to learn more about the safe way to a shortened labor time.