4 Reasons to Keep Moving (and Coming to Class!) Until Baby Arrives
Physical activity is important throughout pregnancy, but often as we reach the final weeks, we understandably begin to slow down. We may even hear well-meaning advice to “take it easy,” “rest while you can,” or “stay off your feet.” While there are certain conditions that may require you to rest, and we definitely encourage moms to listen to their bodies and rest whenever needed, we also strongly advise moms to keep moving any way they can until the very last day. Here are four really good reasons why:
1) Staving off the Aches and Pains of Late Pregnancy
The most common piece of feedback we hear from clients, especially those who attend class regularly, is that they can tell a real difference in their comfort levels when they skip class for too long. This makes sense, because research has shown a strong connection between exercise and comfort levels during pregnancy. This is particularly true as pregnancy progresses and our bodies become harder to manage. Staying active until the very end will keep your body mobile and strong, help you maintain balance and coordination, and keep your spirits up during those notoriously difficult last weeks of pregnancy.
2) Being in Shape for Birth
Fitness goals in pregnancy differ significantly from a non-pregnant person’s fitness goals. Obviously, we’re not shooting for weight loss, or gains in the traditional sense. Our bodies are busy with the incredible job of growing our baby and sustaining our health. Therefore, fitness in pregnancy revolves around the particular goals of helping us ward off severe discomfort, getting our bodies ready for the demands of birth, and setting us on track for an easier postpartum. Staying active until the very end offers you the best chance of achieving those goals. Just as you wouldn’t stop training for a marathon in the weeks leading up to the event, it’s wise to keep moving however you can for as long as you can before birth.
3) Mental and Emotional Preparation
The home stretch of pregnancy is turbulent time filled with highs, lows, and everything in between. As we daydream about seeing our baby for the first time, we can also be overwhelmed by the uncertainly and enormity of the changes to come. Exercise in general, and prenatal yoga in particular, is shown to help many women feel less stressed and burdened by the changes of pregnancy and motherhood, and never is that more helpful than in the final stages. Physical activity produces endorphins, helps us feel more connected to our bodies, lifts our spirits, increases our confidence, and helps our minds stay clear. Additionally, being in class like the ones offered at Tulsa Prenatal Yoga offer the additional benefit of community with other mothers. For many of our clients, our classes are the only time they’re surrounded by other expectant and postpartum women. It can make a real difference as you approach those final weeks and days of pregnancy. We are all in this together.
4) A Better Postpartum
In addition to combating aches and pains, the feedback we hear most frequently is that moms who took our classes often and throughout their pregnancy felt stronger and more capable earlier in the postpartum period. We’re not talking weight loss or flat tummies, either. We’re talking about true quality of life changes, like being able to get up and around to more easily care for their newborns, feeling more positively about their birth experiences, and feeling better adjusted to new life as mom. Many women spend the lion’s share of energy preparing for birth, and while that is incredibly important, so often moms will tell us that the real work begins AFTER baby arrives. The more you move later in pregnancy, the better you’ll move afterward.
Join our classes, or any other activity that appeals to you, and keep it up for as long as you can. Hopefully, until the very day baby arrives! And remember, movement doesn’t have to be an hour long, mind-numbing trudge! It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further back in the lot and walking, or take a quick stroll around the block. 5 minutes a day is better than none and absolutely worth doing. Don’t set yourself up for failure with an all or nothing mindset. Just keep moving that strong, powerful body of yours in whatever way feels accessible and enjoyable!