Exercise and taking care of yourself become much more important during pregnancy because now it is not just YOU anymore.
While pregnant, you might feel extremely tired and certainly not your best. Backaches, constipation, swelling, and bloating are all common issues that admittedly make exercise a lot harder. However, the little one growing inside you relies on you to take care of yourself and provide the healthiest environment for them to develop.
Thankfully, regular exercise builds bones and muscles, increases your endurance, and gives you more energy. It can also help alleviate some of the unfortunate side effects of pregnancy.
Exercise and Pregnancy: What to Consider
Remember that during pregnancy, you might be carrying an extra 15-40 lbs in a relatively short period of time, usually centered in your front. This can make you less stable and prone to balance issues. Hormones produced during pregnancy can also stretch the ligaments that support your joints, putting you at a higher risk for injury.
You will also notice that the further along you are, your body has to work harder just to carry your extra weight. Your heart rate and breathing will increase, even just by doing simple tasks. So, it’s important that you don’t overdo it.
Tips for Safety:
Before you exercise, talk to your healthcare provider about your exercise plans. He or she can give you individualized recommendations based on your medical history.
- Try not to let your heart rate go above 140 beats per minute.
- Exercise at a pace where you can talk comfortably, never to the point of being breathless.
- Avoid bouncy, high-impact motions.
- Listen to your body – take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid rocky terrain and slippery or unstable ground.
- Avoid standing still for long periods of time.
- Avoid exercising in extremely hot or cold weather.
- Wear comfortable shoes with strong ankle and arch support.
- Avoid contact sports or sports that may cause trauma (i.e. skiing, horseback riding).
- During your second and third trimester, avoid exercises that involve lying flat on your back. This can decrease blood flow to your womb.
- Include warm-ups, cool-downs, and stretching.
- Walking: A total-body exercise that is easy on your muscles and joints.
- Swimming: Prevents swelling and helps tone muscles using water resistance.
- Aerobics or Pilates: Try a class or video designed especially for pregnant women.
- Cycling: Preferably use stationary or recumbent positions to accommodate your growing belly. Cycling is excellent for aerobic and strength training.
- Yoga: It can help your body prepare for birth and keep you calm.
- Ball Exercises: They help you build your core strength and improve balance.
- Dancing: This is a fun way to get moving and boost your mood, but be cautious of your increasing lack of balance as your belly grows.
- Exercises to Help You Prepare for Labor: Kegel exercises, pelvic tilts, squats, and tailor pose. Start these early in your third trimester to help strengthen your muscles for delivery.
For more information on exercising while pregnant, Click Here.