When you’re pregnant, there’s a lot of lifestyle changes you may need to make in order to ensure you enjoy a healthy, happy pregnancy. It becomes important to start eating a healthy, balanced diet and to eliminate things such as smoking and drinking alcohol. However, one thing many pregnant women are unsure about is exercise.
We all know that exercise is something we need to keep the body healthy. However, when you’re carrying little person inside of you, you also need to be careful to ensure nothing harms your baby. Exercise could be a potential risk to baby, but did you know it can also be extremely beneficial?
Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about exercising while you’re pregnant. From how much you should be doing to the best types of exercises to focus on and essential safety tips – after reading this blog you’ll know exactly what to do.
Is It Safe To Exercise During Pregnancy?
Provided it is done correctly, exercise during pregnancy isn’t just safe, it’s beneficial for you and baby. As a general rule of thumb, if you were active and you exercised prior to the pregnancy, it’s going to be safe for you to carry on exercising. However, if you were inactive and barely exercised prior to the pregnancy, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure you don’t overdo it.
There are times exercise may be advised against during pregnancy. If you experience the following health conditions you may be told not to exercise throughout the pregnancy:
- Heart Disease
- Low placenta
- A history of premature birth or miscarriage
Before starting exercise, it’s important to speak to your doctor or healthcare provider. They will be able to assess your individual circumstances and determine whether or not exercise is safe and if it is, how much you should be doing.
It’s important to remember that during pregnancy, you shouldn’t exercise for weight loss purposes. Instead, you should focus on exercises which provide health benefits to you and baby.
Exercise during pregnancy will not increase your chances of a miscarriage, unless you’re partaking in an intense form of exercise which could result in a fall or injury to the stomach.
The Benefits Of Exercise While Pregnant
Exercise can prove extremely beneficial during pregnancy. Even just 20-minutes of exercise a day can provide great benefits to you and baby. However, ideally you’ll want to aim for 30-minutes (provided your doctor or healthcare provider approves). So, what benefits can you expect if you follow this advice?
Well, studies have shown that physical activity during pregnancy can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Many women develop diabetes while they’re pregnant and it can be pretty tough to deal with. So, partaking in regular exercise can help you avoid this potential problem.
It’s also going to reduce common pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and backache. Carrying around a little person is hard work for the body! So, strengthening the back will help you to maintain good posture and reduce the risk of back-related problems throughout the pregnancy. It’s also going to help reduce stress, which is another common symptom you’ll experience during pregnancy.
Regular exercise will also help to improve your sleep patterns. Many pregnant women find they are constantly tired and unable to sleep due to symptoms such as heart burn. Once baby arrives you’re not going to get hardly any sleep initially, so it makes sense to do everything you can to get plenty of sleep during the pregnancy.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits, is that exercise can help you to increase your stamina and flexibility. Why is this so important? Because it’s going to really help to reduce the discomfort experienced during the birth.
Finally, exercise during pregnancy can make it much easier for you to cope with the initial few weeks after baby is born. You’ll feel fitter and you’ll also find it a lot easier to shed your baby weight whenever you’re ready.
Which Types Of Exercise Are Best For Pregnant Women?
Most types of exercise are safe during pregnancy, but some are much better than others. The main types of exercise you’ll want to focus on include:
- Indoor cycling
- Brisk walking
Prenatal yoga is especially common and offers a huge range of benefits. In particular, this is the exercise you’ll want to focus on if you want to make labor and delivery much easier. It helps to increase flexibility, as well as strengthen the entire body. So, consider taking a local prenatal yoga class.
Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise which works practically every muscle in the body. However, thanks to the water, it’s also gentle on the body too. So, while you’ll definitely feel it the day after, the exercise itself can prove gentle and enjoyable.
If you love cycling, it might not be a great idea to head out on your bicycle while pregnant. However, you could take up indoor cycling on a stationary bicycle. This will give the legs a good workout and help to strengthen the lungs and the heart, while eliminating any risk to you or baby. Or, if you need some fresh air, why not head out for a brisk walk? These are just some of the best exercises you can do during pregnancy. So, what about the exercises you should avoid?
The most dangerous types of exercises to avoid throughout the pregnancy include:
- Exercises which involve waist twists
- Anything which could result in a fall
- Intense exercise
- Contact sports
The most important thing is to protect the stomach, so any exercise which could cause abdominal trauma should definitely be avoided.
Top Safety Guidelines
If you’re still worried about exercising while pregnant, the safety guidelines below can help:
- Don’t exercise in very hot weather
- Always wear comfortable clothing and ensure show laces are tied
- Don’t exercise until you’re exhausted
- Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise
- Make sure you’re taking in enough calories to support your exercise and pregnancy
These are just some general guidelines. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more in-depth safety advice.
Overall, exercising during pregnancy is usually safe and beneficial. However, it is important to follow your doctors advice and ensure you don’t overdo it.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a doctor or licensed medical professional before making any medical decisions.