Exercise During Pregnancy
Posted: Sep 17 2014
Some women find it hard to get going when they’re carrying a little one inside them. What if I told you, exercise during pregnancy could help with things like backache, common discomforts, posture, gaining that ‘healthy’ baby weight and giving you the stamina you need for the labor and delivery ahead. I used to babysit for a woman who worked out all through her pregnancies up until her due date. She said, “It’s not always easy to get out there, but it’s healthy for me and the baby, and I always feel better after a workout.” Now that your pregnant you cannot push yourself to the limits you use to, or even do the same exercises as before, but I’m here to give you the facts. Here are the benefits, exercises, and things to avoid for a fit pregnancy! It’s important to check with your doctor or midwife before exercising to ensure the health of the baby and you are safe.
- You keep your immune system healthy: Moderate exercise such as walking lowers your risk of catching a cold by as much as half. Researchers believe the data applies to exercising moms-to-be as well.
- Your children may grow up to be smarter: Some research indicates that kids of moms who work out during pregnancy have better memories, in addition to higher scores on intelligence and language tests.
- You might sleep better: Some pregnant women who work out say they fall asleep faster, slumber more soundly and snooze longer than inactive moms-to-be.
- Your labor may be shorter: A landmark study found that among well-conditioned women who delivered vaginally, those who had continued training throughout their pregnancy experienced active labor for 4 hours and 24 minutes compared with 6 hours and 22 minutes for those who’d quit training early on. Two hours less of hard labor is nothing to sneer at!
- Your child may have a healthier heart: The developing babies of prenatal exercisers have more efficient hearts than those of non-exercisers, and this higher cardio fitness level seems to last into the childhood years.
- You’ll likely experience less leg swelling: Your body retains more fluid during pregnancy, and your growing uterus puts pressure on your veins, impairing the return of blood to your heart. Exercise can limit swelling by improving blood flow.
- You may be less prone to morning sickness: Though nausea stops many women from exercising, many moms-to-be report that they feel less queasy after a workout or that the exercise takes their minds off the nausea for a short time.
- Labor and delivery may be easier: No guarantees, of course, but strong abs and a fit cardiovascular system can give you more oomph and stamina for the pushing stage. One study found that prenatal water aerobics regulars were 58 percent less likely to request pain medication during labor than non-exercisers.
- You lower your gestational diabetes risk by as much as 27 percent: High blood sugar during pregnancy puts you at extremely high risk for developing type II diabetes in the decade after delivering and raises the odds of preterm delivery or having an overweight baby. If you do develop it—and many fit women do because genetics and age play a significant role—exercise may help prevent or delay your need for insulin or other medications.
Exercises That Work
- Walking: It is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnancy. Walking is a good low-impact exercise that can be done though all nine months of pregnancy. It’s good because it doesn’t put to much pressure on your knee’s or ankles. Most walking exercise is suggested in 30 minutes intervals a day.
- Swimming: It is one of the best exercises to take pressure off the entire body, and feel weightless. Swimming improves circulation, increase muscle tone/ strength, and builds endurance. It also helps increase your body’s ability to utilize oxygen. Doctor’s usually encourage woman to swim for 20 minutes at most during one day.
- Prenatal Yoga: This is a great way to keep you flexible, improve circulation and balance, tone muscle, with little impact on your joints. Yoga is also a great way to keep you relaxed and learn controlled breathing, which will come in handy on labor day. If you’re a regular yogi remember during pregnancy you won’t be able to do all your regular moves, so keep it simple and enjoy stretching. Yoga can be done 30 minutes a day during all 9 months of pregnancy, be careful during the last trimester not to do any positions flat on your back.
- Dancing: This can keep you exercise fun. You can take a dance class at your gym, or buy DVD’s, either way it’s a great way to get your heart going and your body moving. You can feel sexy in your body while toning your muscles and stretching out. Remember you are pregnant. You may not be able to do all the dance moves, such as jumps. For maximum benefit dance for 20 minutes three times a week.
- Weight Training: Most people think you cannot lift weight when your pregnant, but this is not true. You’ll want to do two things, first have a personal trainer make any changes to your form (you especially don’t want to lift wrong while pregnant). Second increase repetition decrease weight (this means no weight over 10 pounds). Weight training strengthens/ tones muscles and builds stamina, which you’ll need on delivery day. Lift for 30 minutes at most to get best results and stay away from injuries.
- Holding your breath
- Exercise in hot or humid weather. (including: hot tubs and saunas)
- Contact sports (example: basketball, football, tennis, soccer)
- Weight training followed by long periods of no activity
- Activities that require jumping, hopping, skipping, bouncing, or running
- Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, or straight-leg toe touches.
- Activities where falling is possible.