Getting Fit While Pregnant Is Possible
Studies have shown that exercising while pregnant has minimal risks and is beneficial to moms-to-be. Exercising while pregnant can lessen backaches, bloating, constipation, and swelling. It can also improve your mood, boost energy levels, improve sleep, hamper excess weight gain and develop muscle endurance, strength and tone. According to several studies, exercising during pregnancy can decrease the risk for gestational diabetes, alleviate stress, and increase stamina for the coming of labor and delivery.
Get Fit While Pregnant
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day on most or all days of the week is recommended with respect to pre-pregnancy level of physical activity.
- No exercise pre-pregnancy. Start with 5 minutes of exercise per day and gradually increase the duration in the succeeding days until you reach 30 minutes per day.
- With exercise pre-pregnancy. It is safe to continue exercising while you’re pregnant although some modifications are needed to accommodate your baby bump. Caution has to be taken when doing high-intensity exercises even if you’re used to it before pregnancy.
It is encouraged that pregnant women exercise. ACOG even published these recommended safe exercises during pregnancy for healthy pregnant women.
- Walking is the safest exercise that can be done the whole 9 months of pregnancy. It keeps you fit without putting too much pressure on your joints and without getting to much oxygen away from your uterus.
- Swimming is the best full body exercise that’s safe for moms-to-be. It exercises large muscle groups while providing cardiovascular health benefits and reducing swelling.
- Low-impact aerobics is great for cardiovascular strength and muscle tone. It can also be done at home or in a fitness studio.
- Moderate dancing gets your heart pumping and improves circulation. It can be done at home or in a specialized dance class.
- Running is good for your heart and it builds endurance in pregnancy. The intensity depends on your running profile pre-pregnancy. If you’re a newbie, begin at a slow pace on short routes then gradually increase your pace and duration as appropriate for you stage of pregnancy.
- Yoga keeps your whole body flexible and your muscles toned. It also helps clear your mind and relax. To make it into a full workout, alternate it with walking or swimming.
- Light weight training with slow, controlled movements is a great way to strengthen and tone your muscles.
Maintain a healthy pre and post exercise nutrition adapted for pregnant women. Remember to stretch and hydrate. Wear comfortable and appropriate exercise attire. If you can't talk while exercising, you're probably working out too hard and should slow down your pace. Watch out for danger signs like vaginal bleeding, prolonged shortness of breath, increased contractions, uneven heartbeat, etc. If you feel something not normal, stop what you’re doing and call your doctor.
If you're uncertain if a specific exercise is safe for you, check with your doctor. But in general, pregnant women are discouraged from contact sports, hot Yoga, hot Pilates, and exercises with high risk of falling and unnecessary pressure on the abdomen. Bryce Hastings, Head of Research at Les Mills, has gathered several exercise modification guidelines for pregnant women which you may want to check before resuming or beginning training.
If you are not into exercising, your pregnancy is reason enough to begin. Knowing more about how exercise positively affects your pregnancy will motivate you to work out. Armed with what you know and your doctor’s advice, you can now choose exercises you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it. Start small and do it with a friend or try a class that’s suited for pregnant women.
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