“Can I exercise during pregnancy?” – a question shared by many pregnant women. Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you have to give up on your fitness plan! While there will be some modifications in your routine, if you want to continue to exercise during pregnancy, you can and you should.
Exercise during pregnancy: The do’s and don’t’s
Exercising during pregnancy does not only help you stay fit and overcome some nuisance pregnancy symptoms, it also facilitates the process of childbirth. That said, not all form of exercises are good or safe for you. Here are the do’s and don’t’s that you should keep in mind before you start to exercise.
- Always check with your doctors and/or health provider before starting, continuing, or changing an exercise routine.
- Shorten your workout. If you spend an hour working out before, cut down the length of your work out to about 30 minutes a day of light exercise.
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration.
- Wear comfortable workout clothes that soak up sweat well. Choose loose clothes that allow room for your lungs and flank to breathe. Make sure your maternity bra is supportive enough, and choose athletic shoes that fit properly.
- Stretch before and after exercise. A good way to warm up is to start your chosen activity at a low intensity and slowly increase it during the first five to eight minutes.
- Choose the right activity. Prenatal yoga is a great way to stay flexible and strong. Stick with low-impact exercises such as swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary bicycling and low-impact aerobics.
- Pay attention to the weight. Use lighter weights to avoid straining yourself.
- Focus on your back, shoulders, pectorals (chest) and biceps. You will spend 9 months carrying the baby and there’s more carrying to come. Working these groups of muscle to keep you strong to pick up your child, and avoid back pain later in the pregnancy.
- Leaking and frequent peeing can be exhausting to pregnant moms. Kegel can help control your pelvic floor and prevent urinary incontinence.
- Eat well. Exercising burns your calories, and you need to be well-nourished for you and your child.
- Don’t lie flat on your back. Doing this can make your uterus press on a major vein that leads to decreased blood flow. This can make you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. However, most women find this position uncomfortable to be in, to begin with.
- Standing in one place for a long period can reduce blood flow to your heart and uterus and cause blood to pool in your legs.
- Avoid high-impact activities. Tennis is generally safe, but your change in balance during pregnancy may affect rapid movements. Other activities such as jogging or running can be done in moderation.
- Overdoing your workout. If you feel like something in your body hurts, stop exercising immediately. Don’t push your body too hard! If you feel completely drained instead of invigorated after a workout, you’re probably overdoing it.
- Don’t exercise in humid or heated places. This means a big NO to Bikram yoga, hot Pilates, sauna and hot tubs! During pregnancy, your body is heated already. Hot and humid places can risk overheating your body. To cool off quickly, stop exercising, take off layers, and change your environment: Go somewhere with air-conditioning or step into a cool shower.
Being able to safely exercise during pregnancy is a true blessing for our sporty mamas. Not only that you’ll enjoy a safe session, the above notes will also diversify your exercise routine, keeping your workout enjoyable. Even if you are not that sporty, you should try to exercise during pregnancy as it confers many health benefits.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 8, 2017 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
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