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How Third-Trimester Exercise Benefits the Baby

Navel’s a permanent outie. Run’s become a walk. Eating takes some effort and so does sleeping. Ask me again if it’s worth it… and I’d still say..YES!

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With only one more week or so to go, I can say this has been quiet a journey. People tell me “you look great carrying this baby” and all I want to say is well, that’s because I worked bloody hard to stay fit, for both me and the baby. Nothing in life comes easy, and even to keep going with this #fitpregnancy has been a rollercoaster ride of sorts. Who wouldn’t love to just binge eat, sleep and use the excuse “I am eating for two”? Even I have had days of fatigue where I just wanted to throw in the towel and give up working out.

But then, thank God for a supportive spouse and friends who have kept me on track and encouraged me to keep going with my active lifestyle. If not for support and company on early morning runs and sticking to my regime even on off days, I wouldn’t have come this far.

To all expecting mums, I just want to say that exercise during pregnancy can keep weight gain in check, reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, decrease discomfort, and set you up for an easier labor and delivery. Now, new research shows that breaking a sweat, especially after 29 weeks, has a big benefit for your baby, too. In a study of 826 mothers and their babies, researchers found that mamas who exercised in their third trimesters gave birth to babies with less body fat, reports the journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology. In fact, women who burned the most calories through third-trimester exercise gave birth to babies with 41.1 g less fat mass compared to women who exercised the least.

Prenatal exercise may reduce the amount of glucose and fats mothers make available to their babies, helping them grow more optimally. Even if you weren’t active earlier in your pregnancy, it’s never too late to start moving. The third trimester is when most of your baby’s fat tissues develop, so that’s when exercise may have the biggest payoff in terms of your baby’s body fat. Take for example my total weight gain at week 38 is only 8KGs but my baby now is estimated to be around 3.1KGS. Though this is an estimate, you can probably safely say that the main weight gain is on the baby. I am also guessing it’s mainly muscle, brains and bones , not so much fat!

Don’t worry: You don’t need to be a marathon runner to reap the rewards. Women in the most active group typically had full-time jobs, did other activities at home, and maybe walked, swam, or biked a few minutes each day, and that’s all you need to do really – moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, most days of the week throughout your pregnancy. If you’ve been super active like me, then just cut back on the intensity of what you’re used to, but by all means keep going! Life does not change (nor does it have to) just because you’re pregnant. Here’s to the future and working out with bubs too, once she’s outside of the womb.. so many things to show her.. we just cannot wait! 🙂

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