We explain why exercise will benefit you during pregnancy…

Many consider pregnancy as a delicate condition and a time to take things easy. It is even more applicable for those who are experiencing the discomforts that are known to bother pregnant women. You may be feeling extremely tired, you have backaches, and your joints ache. However, just as you needed physical activity to keep your body in shape before you were pregnant, it is also important at this period in your life. Unless you are experiencing serious complications that will endanger you and the baby, exercise can be done safely and be a great time to get active.

How Exercise will benefit you

If you were the person who used to exercise before you got pregnant, what could be better than a good workout? Exercising 30 minutes a day can improve your general wellbeing and make you feel at your best. The extra activity can reduce back pain brought on by the action of pregnancy hormones. Pregnancy can sap your energy with fatigue and tiredness that generally occurs especially in the first trimester. Low impact exercises can boost your mood and increase your energy. Increased and controlled activity can also help you to sleep better.

In addition, you will be able to keep off the weight, maintain toned muscles, and you will feel stronger. With improved feeling comes better self-esteem and greater ability to deal with stress. Exercise has been found to improve the condition of persons who have gestational diabetes and pregnancy related high blood pressure. You are able also to reduce the risk of having a baby that is born significantly larger than average (fetal macrosomnia). Babies who weigh over 8 lbs are in this group. In addition, you can lessen any predisposition to having post-partum depression, a depressive condition that affects women after birth .

Get Permission Before you start

While exercise is good for you and the developing baby, you should not dive right into a program without the permission of your doctor. The doctor may not prevent you from exercising, but will let you do so following personalized guidelines depending on your medical condition. Your doctor may advise against exercise for several reasons. If you have previous medical conditions unrelated to the pregnancy such as severe anemia, extreme morbid obesity or underweight and hypertension, you may not be considered for exercise. You may not be able to exercise also if you have a heart condition or some form of lung disease such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.

Pregnancy related problems will make you unfit for exercise also. An incompetent or weak cervix will put you at risk of a miscarriage. Any sign of bleeding or spotting will make you a poor candidate for any physical activity. Placenta previa caused from a low-lying placenta covering the neck of the womb can cause excessive bleeding and put you at risk during birth. If you have preeclampsia or hypertension caused by the pregnancy, you would not be given the OK for exercise. Additionally, if you are at risk at all for preterm labor, especially if you are having multiple pregnancies, you would be advised against increasing your activity.

Safe Exercises during Pregnancy

Pregnancy exercisesRemember that your aim is to exercise to keep your body in shape. You will not be performing extreme heavy physical activity that could put you in danger. Only engage in low impact exercises. Brisk walking is a great exercise to do that does not place a lot of pressure on your body and joints. Furthermore, you can easily fit this routine into a busy schedule.

Swimming can also be quite relaxing and takes your mind off the discomforts that you may be having. Bicycling on an indoor stationary bike can also be productive.  Low impact aerobics is also considered a good way to stay in shape. Aerobics however must be controlled and preferably be taught by a trained person.

Tennis and racket ball are usually safe activities also. However, keep in mind that your balance has been changed during pregnancy and therefore you may not be able to move as fast or stretch as far. A great idea is to add squats to your exercise routine. Squatting during labor is sometimes required to help the baby descend easily through the birth canal. Practicing squatting can aid in that process.

To do a squat, stand with your feet apart slightly bent at the knees. Lower yourself in a squat position as if you are sitting on a chair. Your back should therefore be straight and your heels pressed into the floor.  Make sure that your knees are not pushing out in front of your feet.  Try to stay in the squat position for at least 20 – 30 seconds. Then slowly stand up pushing up on your knees and heels. Repeat squats for about a minute or two.

Tilting the pelvis is also beneficial to help strengthen the muscles in your abdomen. It also helps to relieve back pain that often accompanies pregnancy and labor. Here is how to do this exercise. Get down on your hands and knees. Tilt your hips forward and pull your abdomen in. Keep your back slightly round. Stay in this position for a few seconds then relax without letting your back sag. Do this again about ten times.

Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

It is true that the unborn baby is surrounded by its sac of amniotic fluid and protected by the firm muscles of the uterus. He is also cushioned among several organs, muscles and the body itself. However, be mindful that pregnancy is a delicate state and it is therefore unwise to engage in physical activities that could harm the developing fetus and you. There are certain exercises that should not be done during pregnancy. Avoid any activity that requires you to hold your breath or that causes you to be out of breath. Stay away also from activities where you are likely to fall including skiing, horseback riding, and gymnastics.

You put yourself in danger also if you engage in jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing.. Contact sports such as hockey, soccer and basketball could cause others to crash heavily into you. Avoid exercises which require you to do waist twisting movements. Neither should you engage in deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises nor straight-leg toe touches. Furthermore, you should not engage in exercises where you have to lie on your back for more than 3 minutes, especially after you have entered the second trimester.

Exercising With Care

Try not to exercise in hot, humid temperatures. Wear loosely fitting clothes that will allow air to pass through to your body. Wear proper shoes that will spread your weight and prevent you from injury. At the same time, exercise on a flat surface to prevent toppling over. Exercise at least one hour after eating and ensure that you consume enough calories to support both the exercise program and the pregnancy.

Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercising. Get up slowly after doing floor exercises to prevent dizziness. Observe how your body is responding to the exercise and stop the activity immediately if there is spotting, bleeding, or fluid coming from the vagina. Do not continue the activity also if there is dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, uneven or rapid heartbeat, or contraction in the uterus even after you’ve rested. Consult your doctor immediately if any problem arises.