The stereotype for pregnancy is a woman eating pint after pint of ice cream while kicking her feet up on a pillow. While that carton of Chubby Hubby might hit the spot, it’s not doing much for your health or you baby’s health during your pregnancy – and neither is kicking up your feet and taking it easy. While you do need more rest and need to take more care during pregnancy, you also need to keep your body strong and healthy for yourself and your baby.
Staying active during your pregnancy can help you fight the debilitating fatigue that can overtake you and to lessen the mood swings you may feel. Regular exercise can lower your risk of gestational diabetes and relieve stress, which can contribute to complications with your pregnancy. There is even evidence that exercising throughout your pregnancy can speed up your labor and delivery and make the whole process a little easier.
If you exercised regularly before you became pregnant, you will likely be able to continue your program. However, it is important that you talk with your doctor about any special concerns and what activities you should avoid. (High-impact activities are off limits.) If you never exercised before your pregnancy, you can still start exercising now, but you will need to take some precautions. Here are a few things you can do to stay fit during your pregnancy, as well as a few things to keep in mind:
Cardiovascular exercises will build up your stamina for labor and delivery and improve your overall health and fitness. You’ll have more energy to do the things you want to do, which will be especially important when you have the baby and are feeling drained and exhausted.
Activities like walking, jogging, running, and swimming are all perfectly acceptable while you are pregnant. You can also join classes for aerobics, yoga or dancing to make it more interesting. Joining a gym like Fitness 19 will give you plenty of options.
Becoming overheated is a big concern when performing cardiovascular exercises while pregnant. The higher temperatures are not good for your growing baby. Therefore, you should not aim to work as long at your target heart rate, and you should take breaks frequently. Dress appropriately and drink plenty of water.
You should also not push yourself further than your pre-pregnancy fitness levels. Now is not the time to be trying to meet new fitness goals or to beat times. If you were a runner before, you may have to cut back on your time or your distance. You may also find that you need to warm up and cool down more.
The key is to listen closely to your body and don’t push it further than you should. If you’re feeling a pain in your side, slow down. If you’re having a hard time catching your breath, take a break. Avoid any activities that can make you lose your balance, such as riding a bicycle or kickboxing.
You can and should continue to strength train during pregnancy, but you will have to be even more careful when performing cardiovascular exercise. Hormones make your joints more relaxed during pregnancy, and you can easily overextend yourself while lifting weights or doing body-resistance exercises. You can easily become seriously injured.
Just like with your cardiovascular exercise, you should be careful not to overdo it when strength training. You don’t want to let your heart rate or your body temperature get too high. Don’t perform any exercises that risk you losing your balance, such as squats.
You can make your former strength training routine more suitable for your pregnancy by cutting your sets from three to two, increasing the rest period between sets, or using a lighter weight. You can also give yourself more rest time between workouts.
Of course, you should also avoid any exercises that target your mid-section.
You may feel compelled to stop exercising when you are pregnant in an effort to protect your growing baby. However, continuing to exercise during pregnancy can actually help your baby grow strong and healthy, and it can help you to be healthier during the delivery and to have a faster recovery after you have the baby. Talk with your doctor about appropriate guidelines for your specific situation, and then work with a trainer if you need help developing an appropriate routine.