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Tips for safe pregnancy exercise

Working out while pregnant is safe for most moms-to-be, but it’s critical to exercise in a healthy manner. Consult your healthcare provider and make changes to your workouts to ensure they are pregnancy-safe. Then, establish a routine and stick to it!

Exercising while pregnant has numerous advantages, and it is usually safe for pregnant women. Working out while pregnant can have the following effects:

  • reduce backaches
  • reduce constipation, bloating, and swelling
  • improve mood and energy
  • improve sleep
  • promote healthy pregnancy weight gain and post-pregnancy weight loss
  • strengthen heart and blood vessels
  • improve endurance, muscle tone, and overall fitness
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Exercising while pregnant can help you prepare for labour and can help reduce postpartum depression. Working exercise while pregnant may also help prevent or control gestational diabetes, shorten the time of labour, and minimise the likelihood of a c-section birth.

Walking, swimming, low-impact aerobics, stationary bike riding, strength training, and modified yoga and Pilates are some of the finest types of exercise during pregnancy.

While there are many pregnancy-safe exercises, there are several you should avoid. And, as your body changes during pregnancy, you’ll need to adjust your schedule. Here are the steps you should take to ensure that your pregnant workouts are safe for both you and your baby.

Check in with your provider

In most circumstances, the advantages of exercising while pregnant exceed the hazards. However, it is still advisable to consult with your healthcare practitioner before beginning, continuing, or changing an exercise plan during pregnancy.

Women with heart or lung disease, preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy, difficulties with their cervix or placenta, severe anaemia, or a history of preterm delivery may need to avoid exercise during pregnancy.

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Begin slowly (or continue)

If you used to exercise regularly before becoming pregnant, it’s normally OK to continue at the same level of intensity as long as you’re comfortable with it and your provider gives you the go-ahead.

If you did not exercise before to pregnancy, begin slowly. Start with five or ten minutes of exercise per day and progressively increase the time until you’re exercising for 30 minutes or more on most days. It is suggested that you exercise for 150 minutes every week, which could be 30 minutes five days a week.

Learn which exercises to avoid while pregnant

Avoid high-contact sports (such as basketball and soccer) as well as activities that could throw you off balance and result in a fall or injuries to your abdomen, such as horseback riding, surfing, waterskiing, gymnastics, downhill skiing, or mountain biking.

Cycling early in your pregnancy should be fine if you’re already comfortable riding a bike, but if balance becomes an issue later in your pregnancy, it’s better to stick to stationary bikes.

If you have never practised racquet sports before becoming pregnant, be cautious because the rapid motions and unexpected changes in direction can jolt your joints or disrupt your balance, causing you to fall.

While yoga and Pilates are excellent prenatal activities (with certain adaptations), avoid hot yoga and Pilates, which are performed in a confined environment with high heat and humidity. It is critical to avoid overheating while pregnant (see more info on this below).

Scuba diving should be avoided by all pregnant women since kids in the womb are not shielded from the effects of pressure changes and may not grow normally as a result.

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Make pregnancy changes

Your workouts will need to be adjusted as your body changes throughout pregnancy.

Choose athletic shoes that fit well and give enough support. If your shoe size has altered due to mild swelling, store your pre-pregnancy sneakers and replace them with a new pair that fits. You may wish to replace the stock liners with gel liners that give improved shock absorption.

Another alteration that may impair your degree of comfort when working out is the expansion of your breasts. Purchase a well-fitting pregnancy sports bra to provide the necessary support.

Avoid exercising while resting flat on your back after the first trimester. The weight of your uterus puts strain on your inferior vena cava, reducing blood flow to your heart and perhaps decreasing blood supply to your uterus. This can also cause dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.

Some women are at ease in this posture well into their pregnancies, but this isn’t always a good indicator of whether blood flow to the uterus is compromised. By placing pillows or a foam wedge behind your back to support your upper body while exercising, you will be able to rest virtually flat on your back without compressing major blood arteries.

While it may seem harmless to remain motionless or stand in one place for extended periods of time – for example, when lifting weights or doing yoga poses – standing in place for too long can cause blood to pool in your legs, reduce blood flow to your heart and uterus, and lower your blood pressure, making you dizzy. Don’t spend too much time standing still. Continue to move by changing positions or walking in place.

Because your centre of gravity moves as your belly grows, it’s critical to exercise caution when changing positions. Getting up too quickly can make you dizzy, lead you to lose your balance, and cause you to tumble.

Excessive high-impact motions should be avoided to avoid overstressing joints, especially if joint pain or discomfort is a problem.

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Warm up and cool down

Warming up and cooling down are critical components of pregnancy-safe exercise to avoid damage. Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for exercise by gradually increasing your heart rate. If you skip the warm-up and begin hard activity before your body is ready, you risk straining your muscles and ligaments and experiencing aches and pains afterward.

Starting your activity at a moderate level and gradually increasing it throughout the first five to eight minutes of exercise is a smart approach to warm up. This warms up the muscles that will be used for more intensive action. For example, if your workout involves walking, begin slowly and gradually increase your pace.

Walk in place for five to ten minutes at the end of your workout and perform some pregnancy-friendly stretching. This increases flexibility while returning your heart rate to normal. Stretching also helps to keep muscles from becoming sore.

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Avoid overheating

When you’re pregnant, your blood flow and metabolic rate increase, so you’ll feel warmer than usual, especially when you exercise. As a result, you may become hot more faster than usual, even before your belly is large. As a result, it’s especially vital to avoid exercising in hot or humid weather when pregnant. When it’s hot outside, your body has a more difficult time controlling its temperature.

Dress comfortably in loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Dress in layers so that you can easily peel off a garment or two once you’ve warmed up or if you become overheated.

Overheating symptoms vary from person to person, so pay notice if you’re sweating excessively or feeling uncomfortably warm, queasy, dizzy, or short of breath.

To swiftly cool down, stop exercising, remove layers, and change your environment: Go somewhere with air conditioning or take a chilly shower. Hydration is also important, so drink plenty of water.

As previously stated, pregnancy is not a suitable time to exercise in a warm area, such as in hot yoga or hot Pilates sessions. Because your body cannot dissipate heat effectively in a hot environment, these activities can raise your core temperature to dangerous levels. It’s especially crucial to avoid overheating during your first trimester because exposing your foetus to high temperatures for an extended period of time can interfere with neural tube development.

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Eat Well

Because exercise consumes calories, it is important to eat appropriately in order to replenish and develop your body. When you’re pregnant, you gain weight naturally as your baby grows. The quantity you must gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight.

If your BMI is in the healthy range (between 18.5 and 24.9), you’ll need to eat about 340 more calories per day in the second trimester, and about 450 more calories in the third trimester — and maybe more, depending on your exercise habit. If you’re underweight or overweight, you might need to gain a little more or less weight and modify your calorie intake accordingly.

As your pregnancy proceeds, your healthcare practitioner will monitor your weight and assist you in achieving a healthy weight gain.

Make careful to provide your body with the nutritious nutrition it requires to exercise healthily while pregnant. You may not be consuming enough calories if you feel dizzy or have a lot of energy.

Drink plenty of water

Before, during, and after exercise, drink plenty of water. If you don’t, you risk becoming dehydrated, which can kick off a cascade of events that results in less blood reaching the placenta. Dehydration can also raise your chances of overheating and potentially cause contractions.

Although there is no official advice for how much water pregnant women should drink when exercising, several experts propose a simple approach to determine if you’re drinking enough: Examine the colour of your urine. Dehydration is indicated by dark yellow urine. If this is the case, drink one to two glasses of water every hour until your urine is pale yellow or virtually clear.

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Listen to your body

Listen to your body when engaging in any physical activity when pregnant. Don’t workout until you’re completely weary. During pregnancy, your body’s oxygen needs rise, and you’ll undoubtedly discover that you can’t work out as hard as you used to. That is perfectly OK! Pay attention to how you’re feeling when exercising, and slow down or take breaks as needed.

You should feel as if you are exercising your body rather than punishing it. If you feel fully exhausted rather than energised after an exercise, you’ve probably overdone it. After you’ve exercised, try to rest for an equal length of time before continuing with your day. For example, if you’ve just finished a 30-minute jog, take a 30-minute break.

Slow down when exercising if you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. If something hurts, always come to a halt. Also, be aware of overexertion symptoms during pregnancy.

If you experience vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headache, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or regular contractions, stop exercising immediately and tell your provider. If you feel contractions that continue even after resting, fluid spilling or flowing from your vagina, calf pain or swelling, or muscle weakness that affects your balance, contact your provider right away.

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Make it a habit and have fun

Maintaining a routine is easier on your body than long periods of inactivity punctuated by bursts of exercise. Invite a friend to join you for walks, runs, exercise courses, or gym time as one of the greatest methods to keep motivated for a workout regimen. You’ll be more inspired to attend, and you’ll be able to spend quality time with your friend while doing something beneficial to your health and pregnancy. A fitness class can be a pleasant way to try something new or add consistency to your routine.

Working out while pregnant can also make it simpler to go back into an exercise habit after giving birth. Your provider would most likely advise you to avoid intense activity for at least six weeks after giving birth, but postpartum exercise, like pregnancy exercise, has numerous benefits. Postpartum exercise can boost mood, lower the risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), and promote healthy weight loss.

FAQ

  1. What are the safest exercises to do while pregnant?

    These activities are normally safe to do while pregnant:
    – Walking. A fast walk is a terrific way to get a good workout without putting too much strain on your joints and muscles.
    – Workouts in the water and in the pool.
    – Riding a stationary bike is a great way to get some exercise.
    – Yoga and Pilates classes are available.
    – Low-impact aerobics classes are available.
    – Strength training is a good thing to do.

  2. What exercises should be avoided during pregnancy?

    Any exercise that involves jarring motions or quick changes in direction, even if it is only mild, should be avoided. Leaping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing are all activities that require a lot of jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing. Deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg lifts, and straight-leg toe touches are some of the exercises you can practise. Stretching while bouncing.

  3. Which exercise is best during pregnancy?

    Pregnancy Workouts That Are Safe: The 7 Best Options
    – Swimming. Swimming is one of the finest safe pregnant workouts because it is both enjoyable and beneficial to your health.
    – Weightlifting with a low weight and a high rep count.
    – Walking.
    – Yoga.
    – Running.
    – Cycling in a stationary position.
    – Pilates.

  4. Can I plank while pregnant?

    Planks are generally safe to exercise while pregnant as long as your doctor gives you the green light. 1 In reality, abdominal exercises provides a number of advantages for pregnant women, including support for your pelvic floor muscles and the prevention of difficulties like frequent urination during pregnancy and after delivery.

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