If you’ve ever thought about whether it’s safe to exercise while you’re pregnant, you’re not alone. We, for one, can say that exercise brings a lot of amazing benefits to you and your baby, pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
If you’ve ever thought about whether it’s safe to exercise while you’re pregnant, you’re not alone. We, for one, can say that exercise brings a lot of amazing benefits to you and your baby, pregnancy and post-pregnancy. And while pregnancy does give us the perfect excuse to sit around being pampered by our loved ones, some of the things that we’re about to tell you might get you up and out of your seat and onto the treadmill!
So, why should you exercise regularly?
- It keeps the aches and pains at bay
- It helps with fatigue
- It helps with constipation
- To maintain a healthy weight
- To get a better night’s sleep
- To help reduce or prevent depression
- Improves your confidence & self-esteem
- Prepares your mind & body for the demands of labour & birth
Get back into shape after your baby is born!
But is it safe?
We find that this is one of the most common misconceptions about pregnancy and exercise. And the answer is, yes. While there are more precautions that you’ll need to take and things to be aware of - women are encouraged to continuing exercising while pregnant.
What should you keep in mind?
1.Wearing the right clothes
When exercising, you should aim to wear loosely-fitting, breathable clothing. You should dress in a way that won’t get you overheated. A good way of doing this is wearing layers that you can take off. You should also wear a supportive maternity bra and choose shoes that will fit you properly, especially if your shoe or bra size has changed due to swelling or growth.
2. Don’t focus exercise routines on losing weight
It’s a given that during pregnancy that you will gain weight - which is completely normal and healthy thing. If you’re within a ‘normal’ body mass index (BMI) range, you should aim to eat about 430 more calories a day in your second trimester - and 450 calories more in your third. You may even eat more than that if you exercise. If you're under or overweight, you might need to gain a little more or less, and to adjust your calorie intake accordingly. A doctor will be monitoring your weight as your pregnancy progresses - and can provide you with recommendations.
3. Avoiding dangerous sports
This one is a little more obvious and more self-explanatory, but you should avoid contact sports and sports that will you throw you off balance. You want to avoid exercising in a way that will cause harm to you or your baby.
4. Don’t overdo it
Even if you were a fitness buff pre-pregnancy - when you’re pregnant you shouldn’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. Make sure to listen to your body. A good way to keep this in check is not exercising for more that 45 minutes at a time, and also to exercise at a point that you can still hold a conversation.
5. Don’t exercise in high heat or humidity
Excessive heat can affect your baby’s development, and it can also make you feel dizzy or nauseous. As your body is working hard to pump up to 40% more blood around your body trying to keep your baby nourished and your body cool - it’s a good idea to stay away from activities that will overheat you. This means avoiding Bikram Yoga, spas, saunas and exercising for prolonged periods of time.
6. Avoid lying flat on your back
You should avoid lying flat on your back after the first trimester. As your belly is getting bigger, the weight of your uterus puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava. This can reduce the amount of blood that flows to your heart, brain and uterus - making you dizzy, short of breath or nauseous.
While some women are still comfortable in this position well into their pregnancies, this isn’t necessarily a good indication of whether your blood flow is being affected. To lessen the effect, you can prop up your upper body using a pillow or wedge so you can lay down without compressing the vena cava.
7. Keep communicating with your doctor!
The biggest thing you can do is to continue updating your doctor about your exercise routine, and to seek out advice if you’re changing your routine. They can give you recommendations of what or what not to do, to keep you and your baby happy and healthy.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby when pregnant. While there are more things to pay attention to than usual - you shouldn’t feel discouraged from exercising regularly!