Fitness and exercise is important for mom and baby, even while mom is expecting. There are many benefits to keeping up a regular physical activity while being pregnant, especially if you have done so prior to expecting – and it is advisable to continue after baby arrives.
When pregnant, it has been proven that some form of exercise has a positive effect on the unborn child, calming the baby through the motions, helping it to sleep. Exercise releases hormones to help the placenta grow, improving development of the baby. The infant is born with less stress and a decreased amount of body fat. Fitness through pregnancy makes for an easier delivery and less drugs for pain relief. You also keep up your strength and stronger limbs, bringing you a quicker recovery from the delivery.
With a Newborn
As you bond with your baby, exercise provides a special attachment both physically and emotionally. It may seem difficult to commit to a fitness plan as a new mom but has many benefits in doing so – for you and the baby. One very special bonding exercise for the new baby is massage. Through touch, you can be more connected with baby for a stronger feeling of attachment and happiness as well as nurturing your infant through emotional development and the baby’s perceptive awareness. Massage also stimulates growth and digestive hormones as well as having the calming effect to de-stress a fussy baby.
Newborns do not have muscle control but do enjoy and can benefit from the feeling of the limbs being moved and extended. Mom, you can wrap the baby’s hand around your finger as the baby is on its back and extend each limb or arm across his chest. Gently grasping the limbs and pushing alternate legs to form the bicycle exercise is fun and beneficial for baby. Do not overexert your infant.
New moms feel drained, fatigued and are lacking of energy. Exercise is proven to increase stamina and improve bodily function. Other benefits include controlled weight, reduced body fat, stronger muscles, bones and joints, improves brain function while reducing anxieties, postpartum depression and stress. As mom exercises with baby, aside from the special bonding effect, there are fewer incidences of baby blues through the physical activity.
There are some fitness programs you can incorporate into a daily routine, allowing baby to be with you and benefit as well. Pilates and Yoga are safe fitness plans, while sitting or standing can work for both you and baby, enabling you to be more active. The exercises can be done with baby on your shins, back, chest or in your lap. Pilates may not be suggested for an infant less than four months of age. Try exercising with a fitness ball with baby in your arms.
There are land and water aerobic programs designed for mom and baby by getting you moving to develop strength. Little ones benefit from any and all of these exercises through the motion of movement along with the special mom and baby bond. Water aerobics is very beneficial for mom and baby loves the closeness in the water.
Holding your baby while performing gymnastics and dance moves achieves great fitness through these fun activities for both of you. As you dance and sing to your child through these fitness activities, the baby over time learns to increase flexibility, motor and cognitive skills while developing a love of music and learning.
You can find the best program for you and baby through your hospital, health organizations or clubs in your area with the best support system for the new mom, look on this website to see if there are any classes near you. Even your local park district may provide such a program at a very reasonable cost. It is worth looking into even before baby arrives – for your benefit and that of your new little one.
This was a Guest Post by Brenda Panin. She is a web content writer for Hugabub, company specialized in baby carriers. She is also a contributor to several blogs and in her free time she loves to write about home decoration and home improvement.