Pregnancy fitness: exercising when you’re expecting
When you find out you’re pregnant, it’s normal to have a lot of questions. Here’s an answer to a common one — not only is exercise usually safe while you’re expecting, but a pregnancy fitness program is generally encouraged. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends most pregnant women get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days.
Keep in mind, there may be some instances where certain types of exercise are not recommended, such as if you have vaginal bleeding, a history of premature labor, or a weak cervix. It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know what your typical exercise routine involves. What’s moderate exercise to one person may be different to another.
Benefits of a pregnancy fitness program
Exercise can often help reduce pregnancy aches and pains, such as a backache and swelling. Working out can also improve mood and promote more restful sleep.
It might be surprising, but a pregnancy fitness routine can also help with fatigue. Fatigue is often an early sigh of pregnancy during the first trimester and reemerges during your last trimester. When you’re feeling tired, hitting the gym may not be your first thought. But a quick workout can often give you an energy boost.
If you need more motivation to get moving, exercising throughout your pregnancy may help you handle labor and childbirth better. Think of labor as a marathon. The better shape you’re in, the more stamina you may have, which will certainly help when the big day arrives.
What to include in a pregnancy fitness program
Whether you’re a gym rat or just starting to exercise, it’s important to get the green light from your doctor before jumping into a pregnancy fitness routine. Once you do get the OK, a well-rounded exercise program during pregnancy should include cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
It might not be the best time to take up water skiing or marathon running. But you can usually continue your regular exercise routine unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. If you’re an exercise newbie, start out slowly and gradually increase your exercise intensity. Good exercise options include walking, prenatal exercise classes, body weight resistance, and swimming.
If you’re into high-impact activities such as running, you might wonder if you can continue. Rest assured, your little one is nestled in safely and surrounded by amniotic fluid to cushion her while you’re on the move. Still, you may have to make a few modifications as your pregnancy progresses, such as switching to low-impact activities at some point.
Exercise precautions during pregnancy
Although exercise is beneficial during pregnancy, there are several things to keep in mind. For instance, it’s no secret your growing tummy can change your center of gravity. This change can throw you a little off balance. Avoid pregnancy fitness activities where you might have a risk of falling, such as inline skating and snow skiing.
Also, after your first trimester, skip abdominal exercises that require you to lie on your back. The weight of your uterus can press on a major vessel that returns blood to your heart, which can result in dizziness.
It’s also a good idea to keep a few basics in mind. Drink plenty of water, since contractions can be caused by dehydration. And avoid exercising in hot and humid weather, which can cause you to overheat.
Lastly, don’t push yourself beyond your limits. You can get too much of a good thing. Listen to your body. On the days you feel wiped out, just go for a walk or do a light workout. On the days you feel full of energy, step it up and work a little harder.
Looking for a healthy and safe pregnancy fitness program? The personal trainers at Elite Triangle Fitness can design and guide you through an individualized personal training program that’s right for your needs. Call us for a free consultation today!