It is no secret that the health benefits of routine physical exercise are many. Working out improves your mental health, helps with weight control, boosts your energy levels, improves sleep, and can prevent the onset of many medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. These health benefits continue even during pregnancy, with evidence that working out can improve both antenatal and postnatal health of the baby and mother.
Despite the known benefits of exercise in pregnancy, I am continually asked one specific question by friends and patients. Is childbirth going to be easier because I am working out?
While every woman, every labor, and every postpartum course are different, here is what we do know about exercise and childbirth:
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Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
Follow Shannon on TikTok @tiktokbabydoc, Facebook @babiesafter35, and Instagram @babiesafter35.
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