Image courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici @ Freedigitalphotos.net
Having a baby is one of life’s greatest gifts. Although pregnancy comes with frustrating symptoms – morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness – the health benefits gained from pregnancy more than make up for the negative side effects. The changes your body goes through during these next nine months will be worth it when your baby finally arrives, and the health benefits last long after childbirth.
Pregnancy Produces Healthier Habits
With a little one on the way, your priorities change, and so do your habits. Becoming a mother encourages you to evaluate your life and make healthy changes, because now the way you treat your body directly affects the growing baby inside you.
A poll by BabyCenter asked over 20,000 moms about how motherhood has impacted their habits, and the results showed that pregnancy has a way of rearranging one’s priorities:
- 83% now eat a healthier diet, or takings steps to do so.
- 69% have stopped putting their mental health on the back burner.
- 65% are getting active again, or trying to. (For something low-impact with proven benefits for pregnant women, try prenatal yoga.)
- 52% ditched unhealthy habits completely (or at least cut back on them) and started making their health more of a priority.
Making these changes early on can set the stage for a healthy newborn. If your healthy eating habits stick with you post-pregnancy, you’re more likely to encourage your child to eat healthier as he or she grows up.
Pregnancy Lowers Your Risk of Cancer
Studies have shown that breastfeeding and the number of children a woman gives birth to can lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Pregnancy and breastfeeding both reduce women’s exposure to ovarian hormones associated with increased breast cancer risk.
Additionally, women who reach full-term pregnancies experience reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. The risks lower each time a woman has a full-term pregnancy.
Pregnancy Offers Relief from Menstrual Pain
If you suffered from severe menstrual cramps before pregnancy, you’ll be pleased to know that menstrual pain decreases after giving birth. It’s unknown why women experience fewer cramps post-pregnancy, but one theory is that childbirth eliminates some of the prostaglandin receptor sites in the uterus. These hormones tell the uterus when to contract during labor as well as during your menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy Fights Heart Disease
Did you know that heart disease is the main cause of death in the US for women? It leads to approximately 600,000 deaths per year. However, studies have found that women who have been pregnant multiple times have a lowered risk of developing heart disease or experiencing strokes. Researchers say it could be due to the higher levels of estrogen present during pregnancy, since low estrogen levels can lead to heart disease.
Scientists speculate that the oxytocin released during breastfeeding also helps keep your heart healthy. Besides hormones, having little ones around to provide support and social interaction can ward off heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Image courtesy of: hayleesherwood @ Flickr
Some women discover inner strength they didn’t know they had after going through labor. It’s great to know that our bodies reward us for being so strong during the process.
If you’re thinking about starting a family, or if it’s simply time for your check-up, schedule an appointment today with one of our Orlando Obstetricians. Call us at (407) 478-6249 for our Winter Park office, (407) 476-0200 for our new office in Lake Nona or visit our website for more information.