We all know that exercise is a key contributor to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
Exercise and physical fitness at any phase of life, even during pregnancy, is beneficial for the body. For women with uncomplicated pregnancies, lacing up and hitting the gym is highly encouraged throughout the pregnancy. However, there are some rules to the game.
Participating in daily exercise does not harm the baby. As a matter of fact, it may work positively for your body, helping to prevent pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure). Additionally, regular exercise can contribute to reducing the labor period, as well as improve your chances of bringing your little one to the world vaginally. The advantages of habitual exercise during pregnancy include:
- Exercise helps to keep pregnancy related problems such as back pain, constipation, fatigue and pelvic pain at bay.
- It helps you feel better about the impending changes in your body and reduces depression and stress.
- Maintaining a healthy weight for you and your baby is important. A regular exercise regiment will assure this.
- Exercise helps in maintaining regular sleep patterns.
- Staying fit prepares your body for the demands that labor and birth place on your body.
- An additional benefit of exercise during pregnancy is, you’ll lose weight much faster after giving birth.
There are a few guidelines that should be adhered to for working out safely during pregnancy.
Keep Your Workouts Regular
At first, you should keep your workouts consistent, at least three times per week. As your pregnancy progresses, you can reduce the intensity of the workouts to walks or swimming to make it easier on your body.
Consult Your Doctor
Before starting or continuing your regular exercise routine, it is advisable to check with the doctor first so that they can provide parameters and suggest any modifications to your exercise routine or any recommendations for new beginners.
Take it Easy and Slow
During pregnancy, your heart works harder than it is used to because it now has to pump more blood. Additionally, since your lung capacity is also decreased because of the baby, you will experience a harder time catching your breath. Because of these factors, you should exercise at a slower pace when you are pregnant.
Avoid Using Your Back
Exercise such as crunches should not be performed after the first trimester. Staying on your back can be dangerous for both you and the baby as it can decrease blood flow to the body.
Eat Sufficient Amounts of Food
During pregnancy, you should ensure that you eat regularly throughout the day. Pregnant women require extra calories to sustain the body and to allow the development of the baby. As such, during exercise, you should avoid burning too many calories so as to keep a healthy weight on track.
Here’s a great video from The March of Dimes You Tube channel which delves a bit more into the exercise during pregnancy topic.
Photo © Alanpoulson | Dreamstime.com – Silhouette Of A Pregnant Woman Exercising