24. If you smoke, exercise may help you kick the habit. In a small study, pregnant smokers reported that exercise gave them confidence to quit, decreased their cigarette cravings, boosted their energy and “helped them feel more like a non-smoker.”
25. You might sleep better. Some pregnant women who work out say they fall asleep faster, slumber more soundly and snooze longer than inactive moms-to-be.
26. You’ll meet other expectant moms in a prenatal exercise class. Get their phone numbers; you may be meeting up for playdates or babysitting co-ops soon!
27. You may be at lower risk for the No. 1 cause of premature birth. That’s preeclampsia, a complication that involves high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. About 5 percent to 8 percent of pregnant women develop it, and the numbers are growing.
28. You’re more likely to avoid prenatal depression. This is especially true if you exercise outdoors because bright light has antidepressant effects. Some 12 percent to 20 percent of pregnant women experience depression, which is linked to poor sleep and marital problems after delivery.
29. You feel more in control. When your body is changing in all kinds of wacky ways and your entire life is about to be transformed in huge, unknown ways, a regular exercise routine offers consistency and the knowledge that you’re doing something great for both yourself and your baby.
30. You look better. Exercise increases blood flow to your skin, enhancing that pregnancy glow. Plus, when you’re calmer and fitter, it shows.
31. Your children may grow up to be smarter. Some research indicates that kids of moms who work out during pregnancy have better memories, in addition to higher scores on intelligence and language tests.
32. You bust out of your exercise rut. Pregnancy often forces you to try something new— to swim when you used to run, to try Wii Fit Ski instead of snowboarding, to give Pilates a whirl.
33. You keep your immune system humming. Moderate exercise such as walking lowers your risk of catching a cold by as much as half. Researchers believe the data applies to exercising moms-to-be as well.
5 Best Activities For Moms-To-Be
Walking: Strengthens heart/lungs, increases stamina.
Water Exercise: Strengthens heart/lungs; reduces strain on joints.
Prenatal Pilates: Strengthens entire body, especially core muscles.
Weight Training: Increases muscle tone and strength.
Prenatal Yoga: Increases strength, stamina and relaxation.
Get Moving! Prenatal exercise doesn’t have to be grueling, complicated or boring. We rounded up our favorite workouts to help you stay active and get ready for baby at fitpregnancy.com/getmoving.