Science Says Doing This One Thing While Pregnant Will Make Labor Shorter

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Whether you're already a mom or you've thought about having kids someday, there's no question that labor isn't exactly the most pleasant part of motherhood. But according to a study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, there's something you can do to lengthen the amount of time you spend in that uncomfortable state: exercise while you're pregnant.

For the study, researchers had a group of 508 healthy pregnant women who were nine to 11 weeks pregnant either take part in a moderate exercise program (they exercised three times per week) or simply learn more about the importance of proper nutrition and regular exercise while pregnant. When the time came to give birth, the women who had exercised had a shorter labor by almost an hour.

A shorter labor isn't the only reason to exercise while pregnant, or before you've even started thinking about getting pregnant. Shannon Clark, an OB-GYN, explains that regular exercise can also make giving birth more bearable. "Routine physical exercise, particularly cardiovascular exercise, can have a significant impact on your ability to tolerate the labor process," she says. "Many women who maintain routine physical activity are no strangers to vigorous activity and pushing their limits, which takes both endurance and a strong mindset. Both of these qualities can be extremely beneficial during childbirth."

Well, it certainly seems like making the effort to exercise while pregnant is worth it—especially because it can help ease postpartum depression, but be sure to talk to your doctor to determine what's right for you and your body.

Want more tips for a happy, healthy pregnancy? Here are 8 of them.

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