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New Canadian research suggests exercising during pregnancy changes the fetal brain in ways that may boost a newborn’s brain functioning for life. University of Montreal researchers found that the brains of babies born to women who exercised moderately throughout their pregnancies appeared to mature more rapidly. In some cases, eight-day-old newborns had brains as active as those of eight-month-olds.

Maintaining your training routine during pregnancy not only has benefits for the fetus, but also extends to the health and wellbeing for the mother-to-be. Activating the core and pelvic muscles helps to develop a strong pelvic floor. The stronger these muscles are, the easier labour and delivery will probably be. The risks of not participating in exercise activities during pregnancy include the loss of muscular and cardiovascular fitness, excessive maternal weight gain, higher risk of gestational diabetes and poor psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy are among the side effects that may occur.

We asked our Tracie Lloyd, Fitness Consultant at World Health Clareview, a few questions on her current experience of training while pregnant. 

How does working out make you feel while pregnant?  After working out since becoming pregnant I feel amazing, I feel a surge of energy which I normally feel like I am lacking through the day.  Also, I feel mentally proud of myself that I am taking care of my baby, preparing mentally and physically for labour.  Working out while pregnant will also help my recovery after giving birth.

How often are you working out and for how long? Currently I am working out 3 times a week.  I am doing a combination of AMRAP, Mobility and also training with my personal trainer Scott.  I generally work out for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Are you taking in extra calories? What are you doing differently with your diet?  I have a couple glasses of 1% milk a day which is enough extra calories for my diet.  Sometimes I have the occasional treat as well :  )

What exercises are you focused on? I have been trying to focus a lot on doing squats.  There are so many benefits to doing them while pregnant and also they help keep my butt in shape!

Are you wearing any different work-out clothes? I am 5 months along and am now and not fitting my regular workout clothes as comfortably.    I had to go up a size to fit my tummy and I am sure it won’t be the last time I will have to go shopping!

Do you have any tips for working out?  Don’t push yourself past your limits.  Listen to your body.

 Figuring out what’s safe can be tricky, but now is the perfect time to get fit. Not only can regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy but it will help to build stamina for the challenges ahead.

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