Everyone exercises to varying degrees, and, no less, expectant mothers. Each woman chooses to stop exercising at a different point during their pregnancy, as it feels right to her. You may feel pretty great throughout or you may experience crippling nausea at different stages of your pregnancy. There are many benefits of exercising while pregnant if you’re doing it safely.
All aspects of pregnancy require you to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor and pediatrician, especially where exercise during pregnancy is concerned.
If you’re at risk of preterm labour, your doctor might advise you to stop exercising completely. If you have lung problems, or any cervical abnormalities, you will probably be advised not to exercise, either.
It goes unsaid, you’ll want to do everything you can to protect both your health and that of your growing baby. Along with getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and taking good food on board, exercise plays a crucial role in healthy pregnancies. If you don’t have any health issues to consider, working out during pregnancy should be fine, if you take the proper precautions.
While everyone is different, we’ll look at some general guidelines for working out when pregnant, and the point at which you should consider calling it a day until after the birth.
Here are some general pointers to help you exercise safely:
Know Your Limits
Once you’ve spoken with your healthcare provider and got the go-ahead to continue with your exercise regime, you should be aware of your limitations as your pregnancy progresses. Your doctor can give some specific suggestions here based on your normal level of activity and your circumstances when pregnant.
As a rule, you should dial back the intensity of your normal workouts. Walk rather than running, for example. Never exercise to the point at which you find it difficult to catch your breath and make sure you don’t get overheated.
With those basics in place, you should focus on what you wear. Like so many other things, this will change drastically when you’re pregnant.
Wear The Right Clothes
Make sure you wear lightweight clothing to prevent overheating.
You might want to invest in some extra-long tops to cater for your growing baby bump. Feeling comfortable, especially if you’re at the gym, is vital.
Opt for layered and loose-fitting workout gear that’s highly breathable.
Pay close attention to the effectiveness of your maternity bra. Also, factor your potentially changing shoe size and consider popping in some gel liners to facilitate shock absorption.
Don’t Forget To Warm Up
Once your doctor has given you the nod, and you’ve got the proper clothing in place, you’re ready to roll.
Warming up is a vital part of any workout, and it’s doubly important when you’re pregnant. Skipping the warm-up doesn’t give your heart rate the chance to increase gently, and you could end up with strained muscles and ligaments.
An effective way to warm up is to start with stretching and then ease into your chosen activity at a low intensity. If you plan to walk quickly, start by walking very slowly for 5 minutes, then gradually ramp up the pace.
Make Sure You Take on Enough Calories and Stay Hydrated
You’ll need to eat more as your pregnancy progresses, so don’t overlook nutrition when you’re exercising. If you’re not putting on weight while pregnant it can be for a number of reasons.
On average, you’ll need 340 extra calories each day during the second trimester, and 450 calories more during the third trimester. If you’re training, you might need to increase this further, to strengthen and nourish your body adequately.
You should also drink plenty of water, of course. You may find you have a dry mouth when pregnant, or feel extra thirsty. Stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. If you fail to drink enough water, you’ll be more likely to overheat. In the worst scenario, dehydration might even trigger contractions.
When You Should Stop Exercising
If you don’t have any complications and you’re prepared to switch up your workouts, it’s normally safe to exercise throughout pregnancy.
Regular exercise not only helps keep you fit and strong but can also prepare you for the demands of potentially lengthy labour. For some good ab exercises click here.
If you notice any bleeding, shortness of breath or headaches, check in with your doctor and discontinue exercising until he’s given you the nod.
Keeping your blood flowing properly, and exercising within reasonable limits, is a world away from running a half-marathon, so keep your expectations reasonable. Be certain to speak at length with your doctor about safe ways to stay active during your pregnancy!