A Guide to Safe Exercising During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can make you tired all the time and take all your energy, but that is only if you are inactive and sitting or lying throughout the days. On the other hand, if you exercise regularly during pregnancy it can help you boost your energy levels, improve sleep and make the pregnancy as painless as possible.
Exercising is also recommended for pregnant women because making the muscles strong and building endurance makes the childbirth easier to handle. Not to mention that it will be much easier to shape up again after you give birth.
If before the pregnancy you had a habit of exercising, there shouldn’t be any problems with continuing everything as you were, just with lower intensity. Your heart rate shouldn’t go above 140 beats in one minute. If you haven’t exercised before the pregnancy, you should consult your doctor before you get started, just to make sure every exercise is safe for you and to determine the right intensity. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women should do 30 or more minutes of moderate exercise, preferably every day, unless there is a medical problem which makes it unadvisable for a particular woman to do so. The exercise routine you choose during pregnancy should energize you, get your heart pumping, control weight gain, and prepare you for the delivery without harming your baby.
The exercises that follow are safe for pregnant women in general, but you should still check with your doctor before taking up any new exercise routine. Here are the exercises that you can safely engage in:
Walking is the best possible exercise, not only for pregnant women but for all the people in the world. We all walk, it is the most natural thing and it doesn’t require much effort or cause discomfort, but it does help you achieve the wanted goals. You will not stress your ankles and knees which can be so sensitive during pregnancy, and you are not space restricted – you can walk wherever and whenever you want. Walking is safe for you during each stage of your blessed state.
Besides giving you positive energy, dancing is good for you because it can be considered a cardio exercise which will get your heart pumping and the muscles in your body tighter. You can take a class or you can use a DVD and dance in your house, but make sure you skip those moves which require leaping, jumping and twirling because those are not as safe for a pregnant woman.
Swimming may be the safest exercise for future moms. It requires you to put in some effort and it engages your entire body, making your muscles strong and you less likely to uncontrollably gain weight. Since you are in water while exercising, you don’t feel your weight and your movements are easily made. There is no dangerous equipment and you don’t make any moves that could harm your baby, so swimming is very good while pregnant, as well as before and after.
Yoga can help you relax while toning your muscles without putting stress on your joints. You can combine yoga with walking, swimming and dancing, for instance do yoga 3 times a week and the rest of the days some heart-pumping activities. Yoga is also good for you during pregnancy because you learn to breathe deeply which is particularly helpful when you are about to give birth. Not to mention the relaxation, which will be very useful when dealing with all the stress motherhood can bring. A report published in the Harvard Mental Health Letter in April 2009 showed that according to scientific studies yoga helps the body get through stressful situations by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure. This can be helpful not only for moms-to-be, but also the ones who already are.
Pilates is good in pregnancy because it makes the pelvic floor, back and stomach muscles stronger. There are Pilates classes meant specifically for pregnant women, so it would be good to look them up. During the workout, the muscles and functions that could cause a problem during and after pregnancy are targeted, but in a safe way, which makes it easier to deal with pregnancy and recover afterwards. Here are some other benefits Pilates provides for pregnant women.
If you were practicing weight training before you became pregnant, then it shouldn’t be a problem to continue doing so. However, you should use less weight and be more careful. Instead of more weights you could do more repetitions to feel the muscles burn, and make moves that are not fast and uncontrolled. For the safety of your baby you should take all the necessary precautions when exercising and consult with your doctor and a fitness professional about which of the weight training exercises could potentially be dangerous, and stay away from them. Generally, you should avoid those exercises that put stress on your stomach. If done right, weight training can help you tone your muscles and make them stronger, which will do much for you in the process of childbirth, because the stronger the muscles – the less the pain will be.
Stretching is very important as a part of other workouts, whether it is strength or cardio training, but it can also be done in isolation whenever you feel your muscles are strained. It can keep your body relaxed and flexible and it is certainly a good addition to your everyday physical activities. It is important to breathe deeply while you stretch. Here are some stretching exercises especially beneficial during pregnancy.