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You’ve probably heard so many people droning on about the importance of exercise that it can go in one ear and out the other. I understand. In pregnancy you may feel horribly sick and utterly exhausted, it can seem like the perfect opportunity to relax and kick back for a while.

But exercise is more than just a way to burn off calories. It can lift your mood, improve your health, boost your brain function and ultimately build a healthier baby. Is that worth hauling yourself off the sofa for?

Fit for birth and beyond
Labour is a physical challenge, being fit will help you meet and cope with the demands of childbirth. Women who exercise regularly were shown in research to have shorter labours. Exercise can also build your stamina so that you recover more quickly from the birth and are ready and willing to care for your baby.

A healthy pregnancy
Regular exercise participation seems to reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. That’s good for you and great for your unborn child.

Prevent constipation
If you keep moving, you can…ahem…keep things moving. When you’re sluggish, your bowels will be too. So tuck into lots of fibre from fruit, veggies and wholegrain, sip plenty of water and get out there and exercise.

Sleep easy
If you take some gentle exercise during the day, like a short walk or swim. The physical activity will make it easier to unwind. Physical activity can also stimulate the release of the body’s happy hormones, endorphins, which decrease pain, give a sense of wellbeing and help us get the sleep we need. They’re like our own safe, in-built opiate.

Boost your mood
Have you noticed that exercise can make you forget the tensions and traumas of the day? Exercise is the best stress-buster there is. It acts in many different ways to protect our bodies and minds from psychological stress. It also stimulates the body to release chemicals that make us feel better.

Prevent excess weight gain
Some weight gain is important in pregnancy, ensuring your baby is growing and developing healthily. However too much is bad for you, bad for your baby and difficult to lose after the birth.

Exercise burns off calories, but more than that, if you have more muscle in your body you will use up more energy even when you’re asleep.

If you’re keen to take the next steps to fitness, then we’ve loads of information to help you exercise safely. Click to find out more about:

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