Fitness during pregnancy
Staying fit during pregnancy can be tricky. First and foremost, consult your doctor. Complications do occur during pregnancy, so get the green light before attempting to continuing/starting with your fitness routine.
Why exercise during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, exercise can:
- Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling.
- Boost your mood and energy levels.
- Help you sleep better.
- Prevent excess weight gain.
- Promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
Other possible benefits of following a regular exercise program during pregnancy may include:
- Lower risk of gestational diabetes.
- Shortened labor.
- Reducedrisk of having a C-section.
The Do’s and Don’ts
If you have received the green light, most pregnant women are recommended 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most, days of the week.
Wonderful aerobic low-impact training options are:
- Cycling on a stationary bike
Strength training is OK, too, if you stick to relatively low weights. If you can, include bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges etc.
What weight exercises to avoid?
- cross-fit type training, which encourages the use of lifting heavy weights in a timed circuit.
- general circuit classes using barbells and fast movements.
- heavy barbells behind your neck after 12 weeks (use dumbbells instead).
- deadlifts, clean and press, and upright rows.
- abdominal rotation machines.
It is common sense but be careful with free weights. You don’t want them hitting your stomach by accident.
Remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Stay hydrated and be careful to avoid overheating. Unless you have received the OK from your doctor, avoid any intense exercise as this may lead to complications.
Depending on your fitness level, consider these guidelines:
You have not exercised for a while. Begin with as little as 10 minutes of physical activity a day. Build up to 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on, until you reach at least 30 minutes a day.
You exercised before pregnancy. You can probably continue to work out at the same level while you are pregnant — as long as you’re feeling comfortable and your health care provider says it’s OK.
If you’re not sure whether a particular activity is safe during pregnancy, check with your health care provider.
- Any exercises that force you to lie flat on your back after your first trimester
- Scuba diving
- Contact sports, such as ice hockey, soccer, basketball and volleyball
- Activities that pose a high risk of falling — such as downhill skiing, in-line skating, gymnastics, and horseback riding
- Water skiing, surfing and diving
- Exercise at high altitude
- Hot yoga or hot Pilates
How to stay motivated or start?
- Start small. You don’t need to join a gym or wear expensive workout clothes to get in shape.
- Just get moving. Try a daily walk through your neighborhood or walk the perimeter of the grocery store a few times.
- Find a training partner.
- Try a group exercise class.
Lastly, keep an eye out for signs of a problem. Stop exercising and contact your health care provider if you have:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Increased shortness of breath before you start exercising
- Chest pain
- Painful uterine contractions that continue after rest
- Fluid leaking or gushing from your vagina
- Calf pain or swelling
- Muscle weakness affecting balance