Many times expecting mothers question if they should continue their regular exercise regimen, or even start a new regimen to remain healthy once they discover that they are pregnant. The answer is, YES! Regular exercise during pregnancy can have many health benefits. Exercising while pregnant can prepare you for the stamina that labor will require, improve your posture, decrease back pains and fatigue, lower stress, and in some cases even prevent gestational diabetes. Though studies have shown that exercising while pregnant has its many benefits, all expecting mothers should consult with a doctor, even if they were physically active before pregnancy. Many times healthcare providers can assess what type of physical activity you can perform and in many cases, give you a work out regimen that fits bests with your medical history!
The activities listed below have very little risk of injury and are safe to be performed by expectant mothers:
• Cycling on stationary bike
• Elliptical machines
• Prenatal yoga (taught by a certified instructor)
• Light aerobic activity
• Jogging in moderation (especially if you have done so before pregnancy)
The activities listed below can be extremely harmful to perform while pregnant. Do not include any of these exercising in your workout routine while expecting:
- Contact sports or activity where falling is likely
- Exercise where extensive hopping, bouncing, running or jumping takes place
- Exercising in hot, humid weather
- Exercising without hydrating
5 Important things to remember:
1) Consult with your health care provider – many times your health care provider will give you guidelines to use when working out while pregnant. I many cases a moderate workout routine is acceptable however, pregnant women with a history of asthma, heart disease, or diabetes may be advise to not exercise while pregnant.
2) Warm up – having a proper warm up is extremely important when preparing for a work out, even if you are not pregnant. If you skip the warm up you could strain or pull muscles that will become painful post workout.
3) Don’t overdo it – it is important to know your limits. Do not push yourself while working out when you are pregnant. Light, moderate, and easy workouts are key while pregnant. You do not want to put any stress on your baby by pushing yourself too hard during a workout.
4) Take in extra calories – eating a healthy balanced diet will have many benefits for you and your child. When you are working out you will be burning a high number of calories so making sure to replace those calories lost while working out is important when providing the right amount of nutrients for your baby.
5) Wear the right clothes – it is important to wear clothing that will wick away sweat and heat from the body so you do not over heat while working out. Also be sure to wear supportive shoes and bra while exercising to prevent injury to your Achilles tendon and to ensure that your back is supported!
6) Stay Hydrated- hydration during pregnancy is key, especially when exercising. Studies have shown that dehydration later in pregnancy can at times cause premature births.
Working out while pregnant can be a great way to prepare for the birth of your child! In many cases if an expectant mother was physically active before pregnancy, a normal workout routine, in moderation, is usually suggested by a doctor. For women that have never worked out before pregnancy, usually moderate exercise, like walking, is suggested. It is important to not try strenuous activity when introducing new works outs while pregnant. It is also important for expectant mothers to understand when they should stop exercising and immediately consult with a physician. These signs include, shortness of breath prior to your workout, chest pain, headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, swelling in your legs, decreased fetal movement, leaking of amniotic fluid, and vaginal bleeding.