Exercise is recommended for women at all stages of their pregnancy. Of course, your exercise routine late in the third trimester will differ from the one you did at the beginning of your first. Regardless, even a brisk walk when your baby is at his or her largest in your belly can help keep you healthy. Exercising while pregnant is good for you in a number of ways. Elevating your heart rate for a little while each day keeps off extra weight, lifts your mood, helps you sleep better, and makes it easier for you to lose the baby fat after delivery. A recent study even showed that the benefits go beyond maternal well-being, and that your growing baby actually stays fit when you do.

When you elevate your heart rate by working out, pregnant or not, it gives you a lower resting heart rate when you’re not exercising. This lower heart rate allows the heart to rest and recharge, which can stave off cardiovascular disease and arterial problems. The same holds true when you’re pregnant, and these positive side effects will actually be passed down to your fetus as well. The study’s results showed that the fetus’ heart rate increases with yours when you exercise, and therefore lowers with yours when you rest. This heart rate variability indicates health, which should obviously be a priority for your baby. Exercising during your pregnancy will certainly benefit you in a number of ways, and we now know that it will benefit your unborn baby as well.

The advantages of having a low heart rate in the womb for a fetus are not certain, as research has yet to determine the outcome. However, we can safely assume that any indication of fitness before birth will have nothing but positive side effects once the baby is born. Your baby will have a healthier heart if you exercise during pregnancy, and a healthy heart from the start can lead to many other positive outcomes. Some hypotheses suggest that this early heart health will prevent cardio vascular disease, and some experts agree that these babies are more likely to become excellent athletes later in life. There are no known negative side effects of exercising during your pregnancy, so you should find a fitness routine you like and stick to it. The list of benefits is too long not to at least give it a try.

Source: Linda May et al: Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy Influences Fetal Cardiac Autonomic Control Of Heart Rate And Heart Rate Variability. Early Human Development Volume 86 Issue 4 pp. 213-217 April 2010

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