Pregnancy can be miraculous but overwhelming. Women are used to living their lives a certain way; suddenly, they question everything they do. Unfortunately, fitness is often the first to go, which is a big mistake.
Exercise during pregnancy has tremendous benefits for the mum-to-be, most of whom have shorter times in labor, easier births, and faster returns to pre-pregnancy figures as a result.
Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to stop exercising, and it doesn't have to mean being tired all the time. By planning a regular exercise routine and by eating a wide variety of wholesome foods, you can maintain your fitness and health during this time of extra demands on your body.
That's what I've done, and you can too. Here are some basic tips you can follow when exercising as a pregnant woman:
When it comes to pregnancy exercise, the first thing that you want to do is discuss this with your doctor or midwife. Your doctor is going to have the most information about your personal health issues and any risks you and your baby face in the months to come.
Follow their recommendations. A professional or qualified pre/post natal trainer with experience training pregnant women is also a great asset during this time. The more knowledgeable people you have helping you, the better.
If you exercised regularly up until your pregnancy, the chances are you can continue what you're doing, unless your activity is classified as "high risk."
If you don't usually exercise, this is still a great time to start and your baby will definitely thank you for it. But, heed the changes your body is undergoing.
For example, your body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy.
This hormone softens joints and ligaments
to make the birth process easier, so gentle
stretching is recommended after your workout.
However, overextending joints may result in an injury, one
that could be permanent.
A whole new person is growing inside your body. That person needs more oxygen and energy, so watch for shortness of breath and other signs of overwork.
If you work at just the right pace, you should be able to carry on a normal conversation while exercising (the talk test).
But, to be more accurate, learn to measure your own pulse to tell you exactly how your body responds to exercise.
If at any time during exercise you feel extremely fatigued, faint, dizzy, lightheaded or clammy, stop exercising and cool down.
Advise someone before you leave the gym; tell them how you have been feeling. If it gets worse, contact your doctor or midwife.
Once you get the go-ahead from your doctor, stick to a regular routine. Thirty minutes of daily exercise can help reduce back pain and body aches. It may also help you sleep better, improve your posture and boost your mood.
Working out during pregnancy promotes muscle tone and strength, helps you cope with labor pain and allows you to bounce back after pregnancy.
It also helps maintain natural body rhythms. Starting and stopping exercise throughout a pregnancy is much harder on the body than simply maintaining a routine.
Of course, you need to adapt your exercise routine as your body (and the baby!) gets bigger, but setting and sticking to a workout schedule is a smart choice.
Avoid high-risk sports and activities during pregnancy. Extreme and contact sports are out of the question - this isn't the time for BASE jumping.
Any sport where you are highly likely to fall should be postponed until after the baby is born.
Use common sense: If the activity could harm you while you're not pregnant, then don't do it while you are pregnant. Low-impact, low-risk, non-contact sports are what you want.
Hydration is always important with exercise. but it is even moreso when pregnant. To maintain enough hydration for you and your baby, drink up to 1 pint of liquid before exercising and 1 cup of liquid every 20 minutes during exercise. Even if you don't feel thirsty afterward, replenish the fluids lost during the exercise.
Also, pay attention to your temperature when you exercise. Overheating your body can lead to exhaustion and other problems. Wear breathable clothing and pay attention to the temperature in the room or outside while training.
If you start to feel too hot, do your cool-down moves another time.
Although your doctor can provide you with a wealth of information about exercising when you are pregnant, don't ignore the feedback from your own body. Your body knows what it can and can't handle, so listen.
If you do a form of exercise that your doctor approved, but it doesn't feel right or even hurts, set down the weights.
Mums-to-be must eat well to ensure they get all the nutrients they and their baby need. Start shopping in the produce section. Bananas and whole grains, rich in vitamin B6, encourage red blood cell formation.
Sweet potatoes contain Vitamin A for growing bones. Spinach and salmon are full of calcium, which helps prevent bone loss during your pregnancy and aids the growth of your developing baby's bones.
Your pelvic floor is a layer of muscle that supports the uterus and helps you maintain bowel and bladder control. It's put under immense pressure during pregnancy.
Do pelvic floor exercises every day and you'll help keep your back and spine strong, flatten your tummy post birth, and alleviate the problems with bladder and bowel control that are common after childbirth.
Clench your muscles as if you are trying to prevent a bowel movement; at the same time, draw in your vagina as if to stop the flow of urine. Hold for as long as you can, then relax.
Repeat as often as you can throughout the day, and make sure you carry on after the birth.
During pregnancy, don't dive right in to your workouts. Prepare your muscles and joints for the work ahead, and increase and decrease your heart rate slowly, not sharply.
Leaping into strenuous activity before your body is ready could strain your muscles and ligaments, leading to post-workout aches and pains.
Go slowly, tuning-in to your body and acting consciously during exercise.
Make sure to pay attention to this part of your exercise routine.
During pregnancy, sleep can be a fleeting commodity. Unfortunately, anxiety and stress, hormonal fluctuations, and physical discomfort make sleep all the more critical.
Taking short 20 minutes naps through the day will help you recover and maintain your energy.
Please note that this information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the author, nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.