Exercise During Pregnancy: Helps with Labor, Delivery, and Recovery

Shortly before delivering Emma Grace.

Two days ago, I had the wonderful experience of giving birth to my first child, a daughter. I had braced for the worst in regard to labor and delivery. However, things could not have gone better. I truly believe that my hard work in the gym and eating healthy played a large part in making the labor and delivery process smooth for me and my daughter.

On the day before I went into labor, I exercised as usual during my lunch hour and took a walk with my dog after work. I felt great physically. Brandon and I ate a healthy dinner, cleaned the house a bit :), and went to bed. At about 4 in the morning, my water broke and my contractions started immediately.

By the time I got to the hospital, I was pretty well dilated, she was in great position, and my contractions were regular. Several hours (and an epidural) later, it was time to push. It took me about 2 contractions to pop my daughter out. In fact, the Dr. almost didn’t make it in time. He basically ran in the room and caught my daughter … amazed that I had gotten her out that quickly. He and the nurse continued to remark how much it helped that I was in shape and healthy for the labor and delivery process.

Getting ready to go home from the hospital.

About an hour after I delivered, I was able to get up and walk to the restroom. The next day, I was waking (in my heels – because they were the only shoes I had) around the hospital without any pain or tiredness, standing while visiting with friends, and feeling great. Now, it’s the second day after I delivered, and we have been home since early this morning, cleaning, trying to finish decorating the nursery :), and enjoying some quiet time while she sleeps. I am about to go on a walk with my dog outside while Brandon watches the baby.

So, am I completely immune from common labor and delivery battle wounds? No, not even close. But I really believe that I feel so good as a result of maintaining healthy habits during pregnancy. Do I already look great – No. I still have a large uterus that makes me look 5 or 6 months pregnant, but I know it will shrink in time. However (don’t hate me) I am already buttoning my pre-pregnancy pants šŸ™‚

All that to say – do your best to maintain consistent exercise and healthy eating during your pregnancy. It will likely pay off for you! Best wishes on your journey to be healthy!

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12 thoughts on “Exercise During Pregnancy: Helps with Labor, Delivery, and Recovery

  1. Melanie Knauff Scheerschmidt says:

    NICE! So glad for you. What an example you set for other women and their spouses to work at being healthy…together! And if you feel this great with childbirth, think how good I can feel with just daily demands and what couple doesn’t want to enjoy more…TMI! Love it!

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m not sure if I believe this especially if you can already button your pre-pregnancy pants and just stated that your uterus is still large (which is totally normal) resulting in you looking 5-6 months pregnant. How fit could you have been to begin with if you can fit a 5-6 month belly in your pants?

    • Amanda Tress says:

      Sarah, thanks for reading my blog! Well, I honestly didn’t put the part about buttoning my pants to show off, but to prove that staying fit can really help in recovery. I was able to button my prepregnancy shorts yesterday, but a lot of that is due to the fact that the style now is low rise pants, and I carried high my whole pregnancy besides when I dropped right before labor….so that is probably me just being lucky??? I do still look 5 or so months pregnant, but for most people, that was still pretty small. I gained 28 lbs total the whole pregnancy. Thanks again for reading! Have you delivered recently? Or are you pregnant?

  3. Kara says:

    For those that may have a c-section or might, I too exercised until the day before my surgery (I didn’t know I was going to have a cesarean). After they “took” Jake out (hahahaha!), the nurse said, “Her stomach is flat already!!” šŸ™‚ I did ab work up until they tell you not to, which I think is around the 4-5 month mark.
    I had my surgery on a Monday night & by the next day, I was up and walking — determined to get to recovery EARLY. Mind you, I had MAJOR SURGERY and yes, my abs were crazy sore!! But, I still managed to do some laps. My doctor credits this quick “bounce back” to the fact that I was so fit and exercised up to the delivery.
    Like Amanda, I could fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. I did have to let my stomach go down from the water retention of the fluids, BUT after a few days (not even a week)…BAM!!! šŸ™‚
    And, I was 36 y.o. …. not a spring chicken like Amanda, but this is just to say that we can all do this at any age.
    CAN’T WAIT TO VISIT YOU AMANDA AND EMMA!!!

  4. Jenna Henault says:

    Amanda,
    This is fun to read! You look great and Emma is a doll! I have been running right along, but recently I have been having terrible uterine cramps when pushing myself at all. Have you ran into anyone with this issue? I am not a die-hard and will just walk if that’s what is necessary but just wondering if anyone else has heard of this?
    Blessings to you on your new journey!
    Jenna

    • Amanda Tress says:

      Jenna,

      Great to hear from you! Thanks for reading my blog! As for the uterine cramps…I had 1 “episode” of uterine cramping at 13 weeks during a stair workout. I stopped immediately and called my doctor. Also, one of my girlfriends had the uterine cramps if she pushed too hard as well. My doctor told me not to push myself too much during workouts (which means something different for everyone, but I generally kept my HR under 75% of my max target HR (220-age*.75). I started to increase my workout time, but not my intensity level. I was still able to keep running though….but I definitely had to slow my pace. One issue that I did have while running was round ligament pain. One of the doctors at my OB/GYN is an avid runner, so I spoke with her about it, and she said round ligament pain in my abdomen is totally normal and not dangerous. Do you have access to a gym where you can use some other cardio machines?

      So excited for you!!! I’m sure you will do really well during your pregnancy! Best wishes!

  5. Jen says:

    I enjoy reading these types of stories! Almost 24 weeks pregnant and I exercise 5-6 times a week and maintain a fairly healthy eating (I do like dessert, but I liked dessert pre-pregnancy too). I’m hoping for an easy delivery and a faster recovery!

  6. Mom of Three says:

    Congrats that is so awesome! I give you credit! But one question,why did you wear high heels to the hospital? I wish I could have been that stylish!

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