While your body is busy creating a life inside you, it may seem like the perfect time to kick your feet up and forgo your usual exercise routine. However, unless you are experiencing complications, experts around the world agree that in most cases, making daily physical activity a part of your routine is a benefit to both you and your baby. This month’s Pregnancy Pulse talks all about the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy and how to do it safely for you and your growing baby.
Exercise and Its Endless Benefits
Most people are aware that exercise in general is good for your body, mind, and spirit but the benefits go even further when you are pregnant. Staying active during your pregnancy can:
- Prevent excessive weight gain
- Reduce back pain and constipation
- Boost your mood and energy levels
- Lead to better quality sleep
- Build muscle and endurance
- Decrease risk of gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension
- Reduce the odds of having a cesarean section delivery
- May lead to shorter labor with fewer medical interventions
Where To Start
Now that we know the benefits of daily activity while pregnant, where does one start? The first order of business is to get clearance from your obstetrician to ensure exercise is safe for you and your pregnancy. Some individuals may be advised to refrain from working out if they have conditions such as:
- Risk of preterm labor
- Pregnant with multiples
- Placenta concerns
- Cervical problems
- Persistent vaginal bleeding
- Severe anemia
Once you have the green light to pursue an exercise regimen while pregnant, the next step is to determine your fitness level. If you are new to working out or have not worked out in a while, begin with shorter, moderate sessions such as a 10-minute walk. If you were routinely exercising prior to becoming pregnant, you can most likely continue with your same level of intensity, just be sure to listen to your body.
Some excellent forms of movement while pregnant are those that are low-impact and avoid potential trauma to the abdomen. Some examples include:
- Stationary bike
- Low-impact aerobics
Is This Safe?
We already discussed who may not be the best candidate for exercise while pregnant, now let’s review some activities that are a good idea to avoid during this time even if you have the OK to work out:
- Any activity with a potential to fall such as horseback riding, non-stationary bicycling, skiing, and gymnastics.
- Contact sports such as soccer, basketball, football, lacrosse, kickboxing
- Any exercises that require you to lay flat on your back during your second and third trimesters.
- Water sports with high impact risks such as diving or surfing.
- Hot yoga or hot Pilates
- High altitude sports and activities
- Scuba diving
The most important takeaway is to listen to your body, stop exercising, and contact your physician if you begin to experience:
- Chest pains
- Increased shortness of breath prior to exercising
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leaking of fluid from your vagina
- Painful contractions that do not subside with rest
- Calf pain or swelling
At the end of the day, the benefits of maintaining daily physical activity for you and your baby are undeniable. If you have additional questions about exercising while pregnant, contact our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss further.