Pregnancy is one of life’s greatest miracles. But it can also be difficult period for Mommy. Bloating, swollen ankles, a painful lower back and constipation are just some of the uncomfortable symptoms of being pregnant. Nine months is a long time and baby will continue to get bigger and heavier. We all know that regular exercise will get anyone stronger and fitter. But should you exercise while pregnant?
The answer is “Yes!” However, you shouldn’t just hit the gym and go through your regular exercise routine. There are best exercises for pregnancy but there are movements that may present harm for you and your baby. Also, you should always consult with your OB/ Gynaecologist before starting any kind of exercise program.
For sure, your doctor will allow working out during pregnancy. Getting the green light from the doctor will certainly be good news for fit pregnant women who follow an exercise schedule. For those who have not worked out or do not put in regular time in the gym, you should know that exercise is generally safe for pregnant women and offers many benefits.
The benefits of exercise for regular people are well documented. Physical activity makes you healthier by improving blood circulation, organ function, cardiovascular health, muscular and skeletal strength.
These same benefits carry-over to pregnant women and help them overcome the difficulties associated with pregnancy. Among the proven benefits of exercising while pregnant include:
In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women exercise on most, if not, all days of the week for at least 30 minutes each session.
So yes, you should exercise while pregnant. But as we mentioned earlier, see your doctor first. He/she will run tests on you to make sure conditions are safe enough to begin an exercise program.
Here are eight symptoms your doctor may look out for before allowing you to exercise:
Any one of these conditions will prevent the doctor from giving you the go- signal to start exercising. It will require immediate treatment and further testing to determine that the condition has abated and no longer presents a threat to you and the baby’s health.
Once you have been cleared by your doctor, it is time to get yourself ready for exercise.
Here is a rundown of a few very important guidelines to keep in mind before heading off for your workout:
Remember that the gym is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Bring two towels to the gym; one for use during exercise and another for shower. If the gym has a sanitizing station on the floor, take some time to wipe down the bench and the exercise handles before use.
Lastly, bring a hand sanitizer with you to the gym floor and sanitize as often as possible.
If you do not exercise on a regular basis, start out slowly when you are pregnant. Here are some of the best exercises for pregnancy:
Walking is one of the best and safest workouts for pregnancy. It is light and easy on the joints and you can easily fit in walking time in your daily schedule.
For example, park your car further away from your office. You should be able to get in a 10-15 minute walk going to your office and another 10-15 minutes walking back to your car.
You can also walk anywhere that is convenient for you: the park, around your neighbourhood and even a short trail hike will do.
Swimming is one of the best exercises for pregnancy because when you’re in water, you feel much lighter. There is less stress on your joints and the lower back.
Swimming has also been proven effective in relieving nausea, swollen ankles and sciatic pain.
Elliptical machines and stair masters are good alternatives to walking during pregnancy because they exercise your upper body and are also a low-impact activity. Don’t elevate your heels during the step because it will place more pressure on your knees.
Choose the incline percentage and resistance level that will give you a comfortable workout with a good degree of difficulty.
Can you use running as your form of cardio while pregnant? If you have not run before, pregnancy is not the time to start! Incorrect form and technique will lead to injury and discomfort.
However, if you are an experienced runner it may be a safe activity to do provided you secure medical approval from your doctor.
Biking is another safe activity during pregnancy. You can bike outdoors in the park or an indoor arena.
How about spinning classes? Just like running, spinning can be an intense form of exercise. But if you’ve done spinning before, you could get back on the bike assuming you get clearance from your doctor. It may be advisable to reduce the intensity of your pace.
Aerobics classes are a fun way to get yourself fit and strong during pregnancy but be selective in the sessions that you choose.
Avoid aerobics classes that are high impact and those which require balance. Also, avoid exercising to the point of exhaustion. You can easily get carried away with aerobics.
Women love squats because it is the best exercise to tone the legs, strengthen the hips and build the glutes. And you can do them at home. But can you perform squats while pregnant?
The answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Squatting has many benefits for pregnant women:
Don’t force yourself to get into the full squat position if you can’t. Only go as low as you comfortably can and slowly build from there.
Many women weight train during pregnancy. However, even if you are experienced, it is always advisable to get the help of a licensed Personal Trainer preferably someone who has been pregnant.
So yes, working out during pregnancy is okay. It will help make your pregnancy easier and mitigate the difficult conditions that are associated with it.
However, always secure clearance from your doctor. Get a complete test to make sure you and your baby are safe before starting out an exercise program.
If you feel any discomfort or pain during exercise, discontinue the activity and see your doctor right away.