How to exercise during pregnancy
YES- it is absolutely safe to exercise during pregnancy! There are many benefits of exercising for both you and your baby.
Gone are the days when exercising during pregnancy was associated with risks, but now, we have come a long way in our understanding of what exercise is safe (and what's not) during pregnancy. Following a fitness routine or a physical activity routine during pregnancy is not only safe; it's encouraged.
So, what do you need to know about exercising during your pregnancy?
Women with a low-risk pregnancy are encouraged to do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 20-30 minutes per day. However, all pregnant women who exercise should seek advice from their obstetrician as to which exercises you should avoid. Because each pregnancy is different, ensure you are not overdoing it or engaging in activities that should be avoided.
The rule of thumb in pregnancy is: what's right for you is right for your baby as well. Exercising during pregnancy helps pregnant women as well as the baby in many ways. Regular physical activity during pregnancy can help
- prevent or manage inevitable aches and pains
- help psychological well-being
- help reduce anxiety & depression during the postpartum period
- can reduce your labour length
- improves yours and your baby’s physiological response to stress
Exercise during pregnancy depends mainly on
- what your fitness level is
- which trimester you are in
- and of course how you're feeling
There are many benefits associated with exercise during pregnancy, and they are:
- It helps increase cardiovascular & muscular strength
- it improves your posture
- helps improve blood circulation which reduces the incidence of varicose veins
- helps to reduce bloating, constipation & swelling
- relieves lower back pain
- improves your chances of having easier deliveries, and healthy babies.
What types of exercise can you do?
It is recommended to gradually add exercise into your routine for your health and the health of your baby. It can be as simple as
- a 10-minute walk with your partner (that builds gradually)
- stationary cycling indoors
- 1 or 2 rounds of swimming
- prenatal Pilates or yoga
- low-impact aerobics
For women who have been physically active before becoming pregnant can maintain their training habits, but with caution. The activities that you need to avoid are:
- contact sports, and extreme sports
- contact sports that can injure, such as squash, basketball, kickboxing, hockey, or football
- sports that are risky or likely to cause falls, such as skiing, surfing, or gymnastics
- scuba diving
- don't exercise for more than 45 minutes at a stretch to prevent hypoglycemia
- hot yoga or hot Pilates, because increases in body temperature might harm a foetus.
- If you notice any unusual symptoms, stop exercising and contact your doctor or midwife IMMEDIATELY.
High-risk pregnancies come in a variety of forms and doctors usually recommend mild activity like walking or stretching. Vigorous exercise in majority cases is discouraged; you and your doctor can come up with an individualized plan for light, safe activities.
Whatever fitness regime active & less-active women follow, be sure you are
- to be well-rested
- to be hydrated
- to be well fed
- be kind to yourself
- Wear comfortable maternity activewear
As you step in your second trimester, you may need to modify your exercising routine, in terms of intensity slightly. At this stage, you may need to avoid exercises that pose stress on your pelvic floor, such as running. Combined with the hormonal effects, it can get a bit tougher on your pelvis. Instead, opt for an alternative like walking, the occasional swim, water aerobics or a stationary exercise bike.
Exercises you can pick during the second trimester are:
- Prenatal yoga
- low-to-moderate-intensity strength exercise
- light weights and bodyweight exercises
- water aerobics and swimming
- cardio – treadmill, stationary cycling
As you move in your third-trimester, maintain the same intensity might get complicated. Practising yoga or Pilates, and maintaining an active & healthy routine will help your energy levels. In your third trimester your joints are more vulnerable, so beware of heavy weights; opt instead for more repetitions.
Cardio is a good option, and you can continue with it until you deliver. You can use maternity belts & bands to support your belly during cardio to take the pressure off.
In your third trimester, swimming is an excellent exercise. When in the swimming pool, you will feel incredibly light, and it won't stress your joints either.
The bottom line!
Whether you are a lifelong active woman or an exercise newbie, a regular fitness regime involving physical activity is safe and advised by most doctors. Mild to moderate intensity exercises offer great benefits for the mother and baby too. Make sure that the maternity bottom wear is not tight on your belly. It needs to support your growing belly and keep you comfortable.
In case of high-risk pregnancies, your doctor can help you choose correct activities that are safe for you and your baby. It is an excellent start to maintain healthy habits and regular physical activity for lifelong good health for yourself, your baby and your family.
Shop for latest and stylish maternity activewear that fits perfectly well throughout your pregnancy and keeps you comfortable through your fitness regime.