Although the last days leading up to a pregnant woman's due date can be tiring AF, the very active hours leading up to Anna Strode's baby's birth paint a very different picture. Instead of kicking her feet up while she waited for contractions to progress within the confines of a hospital room, the 41-weeks-pregnant mother of two took the waiting game as an opportunity to squeeze in a workout - and she really went at it with reverse lunges, tricep dips, and squats. Watch her get L-O-W:
Anyone who follows Anna on Instagram (@bubs2bikini) knows she's had an extra-active pregnancy, from shooting hoops with her boys to challenging her husband to work out with a matching bump:
Although her boys take up most of her time, Anna, a 32-year-old from Melbourne, has tried to get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day three to four times a week throughout her pregnancy, a habit she began six weeks after giving birth to her twins. "I was tired, running off zero sleep and the depression and anxiety really kicked in," she wrote in an Instagram post about a backyard workout that kicked off her routine. "It was like this huge weight of all the pressure that was pushing me down into a dark hole was lifted from me, and I felt ready to tackle the day with energy and positivity. It was a real 'ah ha' moment for me."
It's why she kept at it after she got pregnant with her third child - a good thing, according to Maria Sophocles, board-certified gynecologist and medical director of Women's Health Care, a private practice in Princeton. Dr. Sophocles says that, with your doctor's blessing, exercising during pregnancy keeps you in good cardiovascular shape, so your heart and lungs can endure the physical strain of labor delivery. What's more, she says, keeping your pelvic floor fit - through stretching, yoga, and Pilates - enables you to find the right muscles to isolate during labor when it's time to push.
While working out while you wait for contractions to get closer won't necessarily advance labor - “Successful delivery happens when a baby and woman’s pelvis are the right size for each other," Dr. Sophocles says, and exercise doesn't directly help - she says it can give patients a sense of empowerment over their pain. This, in turn, can relax them and help move things along. Exercise also helps the body release endorphins - hormones that can reduce stress and manage pain for an all-around more pleasant labor. (Sign me up!)
Whatever Anna was doing clearly worked wonders for her, which is the only thing that matters, really. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Madi Grace, not long after shooting her final prenatal fitness video. What a cutie!
And here are Anna's twins, Lachie and Sammy, with their baby sister in case you need an extra "aw" in your life:
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