Most people know that it’s safe to keep up your workout routine while pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that women don’t think about the effect that exercise has on their body and their baby. But we have good news: according to a new study, exercising during pregnancy can make your labor shorter. This new benefit comes in addition to all the other great things that working out does for your pregnant body.
Researchers at the Technical University of Madrid ran a study with just over 500 women and put them into two groups. There were 253 women in the “control group” who didn’t have much activity. 255 women placed in the “exercise group,” as stated in the study, published in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Those in the exercise group did a mild aerobic program once a week for three weeks. The researchers looked at how long each stage of labor took and the use of epidurals in the two groups of women. They discovered that the women who exercised while pregnant were more likely to have a shortened labor time. Besides spending less time in labor, the women who exercised were less likely to get an epidural.
This new study reminds us that if you exercise during pregnancy, you’re not doing any harm to your body or your baby’s health. If you already had a fitness routine before you got pregnant, make sure to ask your doctor if what you’re doing is safe for your health. Most of the time, it’s fine to keep doing your regular workouts. Whether you’re into CrossFit, yoga, or jogging, you’re good to go, so long as you talk to your doctor and they give you the all-clear.
But don’t stress if you can’t (or don’t feel like) going “all in” with pilates. There are tons of pregnant women who didn’t work out pre-pregnancy and have no intention of starting. And some women are put on bedrest by their doctors for most of their pregnancies due to complications.
It’s important to know that this study doesn’t mean working out will hands-down make your labor easier or epidural-free. If you don’t work out, just tell your doctor. Pregnancy is different for everyone, so own it!