Exercising During Pregnancy - Why Should You?
If you’re pregnant, this might seem to be the perfect time to sit back and relax owing to the fact that you’re carrying a baby. However, being too sedentary isn’t good for you either.
Quite understandably, carrying that extra weight around might be tiring. Your back might be aching, and your ankles might be swollen too. However, sitting around and labelling the severe lack of movement as ‘rest’ might do you more harm than good, (unless of course, you have been ordered by your doctor to be in bed and not move!).
During pregnancy, exercise can help you stay energised and also help prepare you for labor and delivery. Here’s everything you might want to know about pregnancy exercise, from getting started to staying motivated.
Get your doctor’s approval
Before you get that body moving, make sure you have your doctor’s consent. Although exercise during pregnancy is generally good for both mother and baby, there might be some problems with certain movements and exercises if you have:
• Some form of heart or lung disease
• Pregnancy related high blood pressure
• Cervical problems
• Vaginal bleeding
• Risk factors for preterm labor
• A multiple pregnancy (which carries with it the risk of preterm labor)
If you’re pregnant, exercise can:
• Ease backaches or prevent it altogether
• Boost energy levels which in turns sets off good moods
• Help you get better sleep and rest
• Prevent excess weight gain
• Increase stamina and muscle strength
Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
Exercising during pregnancy might also reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and pregnancy related high blood pressure, as well as lessen the symptoms of postpartum depression. In addition, it might reduce the risk of fetal macrosomia, where a baby is born significantly larger than average.
Pace it out accordingly
For pregnant women with no serious health or medical issues, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended on most, if not all days of the week.
Beginners can begin with a low impact activity such as walking. This is one of the easiest exercises to help you obtain some essential aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on the joints. Other good exercise choices include swimming, low impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike, if permitted by your doctor.
Remember to include warming up activities before you exercise and and cooling-down moves too, after you have finished. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and be careful to avoid overheating. Test yourself: In general, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising. If you can’t speak normally while you’re working out, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard.
You haven’t exercised for a while, begin with as little as five minutes of physical activity for the first few days. Build up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on, until you reach 30 minutes a day. If you have always been active, you may continue to work out at the same level while you’re pregnant — as long as you’re feeling comfortable and at ease.
Activities to avoid
Not sure whether a particular activity is safe during pregnancy? Bring it up with your doctor! However, it would be wise to avoid the following, or, approach them with great care!
• Any exercises that require you to be flat on your back after your first trimester
• Scuba diving
• Contact sports, such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball and anything that has the risk of you getting hit, struck or manhandled
• Activities that pose a high risk of falling — such as, gymnastics, water skiing, surfing, horseback riding and even cycling
Stick to the activities you enjoy
You don’t need to join a gym or wear expensive workout clothes to get in shape. Just get moving. Walking around your neighbourhood ( you can even vary the routes) or the perimeter of your condominium or apartment complex a few times. Take the stairs to your apartment instead of the elevator.
Activities should also pre-fitted into your daily schedule so that it’s possible to make them happen without excuses. Remember too, that Exercising can be more enjoyable if it can be done while chatting with a friend or family member.
Your capabilities to keep up with a whole lot of movements will begin to decrease as your pregnancy progresses. So, give yourself permission to rest whenever your body calls for it.
Take bodily cues seriously
As important as it is to exercise, it’s also important to watch for danger signs. If you experience the following, stop exercising at once and seek the advice of your doctor.
• Vaginal bleeding
• Uncomfortable shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Uneven or rapid heartbeat
• Uterine contractions that continue after rest
• Vaginal bleeding
• Fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina
• Decreased fetal movement
A good reason to start!
Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the challenges ahead. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin.
Join a prenatal exercise class.
Many fitness centers and even medical centers offer classes for prenatal exercises. You can even consider a prenatal yoga class designed for pregnant women. Choose one that fits your interests and schedule.