Exercising while pregnant: Here is what you need to know
Most physicians recommend exercising while pregnant, especially if you were physically active before you were pregnant. Your physician will most likely tell you to remain active, provided you do not have any other pregnancy complications or health conditions that will get in the way of exercising, and provided that you are comfortable exercising.
Some women have questions about whether it is safe to exercise while pregnant, and the answer is yes, as long as you don’t have any complications. Exercise does not increase the risk for miscarriage or stillbirth for a normal pregnancy.
Be rest assured; Your baby is protected by fluid in the amniotic sac. In turn, this amniotic sac is safely tucked inside the uterus, which is of itself surrounded by your organs, muscles and your physical body. So, your baby is safely cushioned from any impact and remains safe.
In fact, the benefits of exercising are numerous for pregnant women and cannot be overemphasized.
The benefits of exercising when pregnant
There are tremendous benefits to be enjoyed when you exercise when you are expecting. Foremost amongst these benefits is that it helps to reduce backache which is a common malady of pregnancy.
Other reasons/benefits of exercising while pregnant is that it:
Reduces constipation by accelerating movement in your intestines, and also reduces swelling and bloating which are also common problems of pregnancy;
May help you prevent the development of gestational diabetes. If you are already diabetic, it may help alleviate the symptoms;
Increases how energetic you feel;
Puts you in a better and more positive mood;
Improves your posture;
Helps you sleep better;
Prevents further wear and tear on your joints which are already loosened during pregnancy due to hormonal changes;
Improves your strength, muscle tone, and endurance;
It helps you look better. This is because exercise improves the blood flow to your skin, and thus gives you a healthier glow;
Helps your ability to cope with labor and makes it a lot easier to get back into shape after delivery.
While you want to continue to exercise when you are pregnant, you should understand that this is not the time to exercise for weight loss. Rather, the focus of body fitness during this period should be to improve or at the very least maintain physical fitness, as well as overall health and wellness.
How long is long enough?
If you can, aim for half an hour per day. If this is not feasible, aim for 20 minutes 4 days a week.
Just remember that a little exercise is better than no exercise at all, and the reasoning is to get active and get the blood flowing.
Simple guidelines for exercising
If you exercised before falling pregnant, it is usually safe to continue to exercise all throughout your pregnancy as long as you remember to pace yourself and not over-exercise, and as long as the purpose for your exercise is not weight loss. It is not advisable for pregnant women to attempt weight loss during pregnancy.
You may however need to adapt some modifications as you need them.
If you weren’t very fit before you became pregnant, you can begin exercising slowly and build gradually as you become stronger. If you usually get little to no activity, walking is a great exercise to begin with, as it is easy on your joints and body, and doesn’t require extra fitness equipment.
Here though are simple guidelines to follow when exercising:
Don’t participate in activities that will require you to jump, bounce, skip or hop extensively.
Do not participate in intense exercise after long periods of inactivity, and always make sure that you warm up before you begin.
Avoid exercise activities where you are likely to fall or that are likely to cause abdominal trauma.
Do not exercise in hot and humid weather.
Wear a good supportive bra as well as clothes that are loose and comfortable. Also make sure to wear well fitting shoes specially designed for the kind of exercise you are doing.
In order to avoid injury, always exercise on a flat, level surface.
Do not hold your breath for a long period and don’t exercise till you drop. Moderation is key.
Make sure you eat healthily.
To prevent dizziness and fainting, always get up slowly and gradually after doing floor exercises.
Never exercise immediately after eating. Give the food at least one hour to digest.
Your body requires you to eat more calories when pregnant, and exercise also burns calories off your body, so make sure that you consume enough healthy calories to meet both your pregnancy needs as well as that of your exercise program.
It is important to keep hydrated so make sure to drink plenty of water before you exercise, while you are working out and after you are done.
Your body is telling you that it’s had enough if you feel fatigued, dizzy, are short of breath, feel pain in your back or pelvis, and/or if your heart is pounding in your chest. It is time to stop.
Exercises you can try
You can try these Low impact exercises when pregnant:
Of them all, swimming is especially appealing, simply because it gives your body buoyancy which is simply a feeling of weightlessness.
You will also do well to include Kegel exercises. They are easy and can be done anywhere, anytime provided you have a few seconds. It is especially useful in strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.
Talk to your doctor
it is important to talk to your health care provider Before you begin exercising, especially if you have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (hypertension), vaginal bleeding, premature contractions and/or premature rupture of your membranes.