Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to abandon your fitness regime entirely! Exercise can benefit your body during pregnancy by strengthening your muscles and relieving stress.
- 1 Importance of Staying Active During Pregnancy
- 2 Do’s and Don’ts of Exercising During Pregnancy
Importance of Staying Active During Pregnancy
You might think that getting pregnant would mean having to change your lifestyle in many ways. But forgoing exercise should not be one of them.
Generally, exercise is regarded as an excellent way to stay fit and be healthy. Likewise, light to moderate exercise during pregnancy is beneficial both for the expecting mother and their baby.
Exercise improves posture and decreases fatigue during pregnancy. It also releases endorphins to help pregnant women relieve stress which could affect the unborn baby.
More importantly, exercise helps pregnant women prepare for the delivery process by helping them build stamina and strength. It helps to be in your best shape before giving birth as strengthening and controlling your pelvic floor muscles could help during the pushing stage of labour.
Do’s and Don’ts of Exercising During Pregnancy
As much as exercise has several benefits for an expecting mother, it is still important for her to tread carefully and be mindful of the types of exercises she engages in. After all, you would not want to tire yourself out too much or risk any complications to the pregnancy. Of course, this only applies to women who are undergoing uncomplicated and healthy pregnancies. Do get permission and clearance from your doctor first before engaging in any exercise that you are unsure about!
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to exercises for pregnant women.
DO go for low impact exercises
While you would want to avoid vigorous exercises to protect your knees, low-impact exercises can help you burn calories, boost your energy levels and also strengthen the heart without putting too much pressure on your joints.
Exercises like water aerobics, swimming, walking, and jogging on the treadmill get your heart rate up without putting your body under too much stress.
DON’T Exercise in the Heat
While working out under the sun might be an easy way for you to get a tan and work up a sweat, you might want to avoid these types of exercises during your pregnancy.
Working out in extreme heat could lead to dizziness, heat stress and dehydration. This could lead to complications.
It is better to give exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT), hot yoga and running in the sweltering heat a miss during your pregnancy.
Instead, try to exercise indoors or during the evening when the weather is cooler.
DO Allocate Time For Flexibility and Strength Building
Being healthy during your pregnancy transcends beyond spending hours on a treadmill to build cardiovascular endurance, it also involves developing strength and flexibility.
Strength and flexibility training limits lower back pain and lessens the chances of muscle aches and strains that you may experience as your pregnancy progresses. It also improves your range of motion and strengthens your body for labour.
If you want to get stronger and more flexible during your pregnancy, some exercises you could try are yin yoga, pilates as well as light weight training.
However, avoid risky moves like handstands and refrain from lifting heavy weights over your head.
DON’T do Aerial Sports
Aerial sports might be fun and exciting for thrill seekers. But when you are preparing to deliver a child, you might want to stay away from them.
Aerial sports include activities such as rock-climbing, aerial yoga, and pole-dancing. These activities pose huge risks of falling and injury. You are better off avoiding such activities during pregnancy to mitigate these risks.
DO Attend Pre-Natal Fitness Classes
Attending pre-natal fitness classes that contain workouts and exercises specifically tailored to pregnant women could help you target specific muscles to prevent issues during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Pre-natal fitness classes like pre-natal yoga and pilates can help you develop a greater sense of awareness and mindfulness towards your body. Instructors will also be able to provide help and specially tailored exercises that are catered for pregnant women.
DON’T Obsess Over Hitting Fitness Milestones
Regardless of whether your fitness goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or build stamina, you might want to put these goals on hold until you have delivered your baby.
Your body will undergo significant changes during pregnancy which can lead to fatigue, exhaustion and muscle aches and pain as your pregnancy progresses.
Hence, it is important not to overstress your body by adding unnecessary strain or working out excessively.
Instead of obsessing over hitting your fitness goals, focus on staying fit and healthy to ensure a healthy pregnancy journey for yourself and your baby.