Being pregnant doesn’t mean you are exempted from maintaining an active lifestyle. In fact, there are several benefits that are associated with exercise during pregnancy, which include reduced backaches, better sleep, stronger and more-toned muscles, and boosted energy levels. Unless your health-care provider tells you otherwise, exercising is safe and even good for both the mother and the baby.
Keep moving while you’re expecting! Here are some safe exercises that you can do when you’re having a baby.
Walking is a good exercise for starters, especially if you aren’t as much of a fitness buff as you want to. Even a quick stroll in the park or around your neighborhood can be beneficial to your health. This workout targets your cardiovascular system without stressing your knees and ankles too much. However, it is advised to find a route with smooth surfaces and to watch out for potholes to avoid untoward accidents.
Pregnant women may lose their sense of coordination and balance as their bellies get bigger. Wearing the right sneakers is also important. If you are late in your pregnancy, opt for shoes that are half a size bigger than your shoes usually are if your feet are starting to swell.
Swimming is easily a pregnant woman’s favorite form of exercise. Since you feel weightless on water, you will have full control of your limbs no matter how big your baby bump is. Moreover, this exercise does not put much pressure on the joints and ankles, which may eventually become swollen and uncomfortable later in pregnancy. Whether you intend to do a few laps in the pool or enrol in a low-intensity aerobics class, swimming makes a great workout and leisure activity for pregnant women.
Yoga is generally safe for both the pregnant mother and the baby. In fact, it helps improve joint flexibility and total body tone. Since yoga is known to strengthen the core muscle and promote relaxation, it may even help shorten and improve the quality of labor. There are prenatal classes that focus on preparing pregnant women for labor.
However, experts suggest that you avoid “hot yoga” and poses that require you to lie on your back, especially if you’re over the first trimester. More importantly, check with your doctor or a fitness expert if something doesn’t feel right throughout your workout.
Who says you can’t lift weights while you’re pregnant? Light strength training can keep your muscles toned before and after delivery, which is also good preparation for all the lifting you will do once your little bundle of joy is out. If you have been lifting weights before your pregnancy, chances are you may continue doing so as long as you take it easy.
Aside from going lighter on the weights, avoid routines that require you to lie flat on your back. However, if strength training was not your thing before the pregnancy, you may have to think twice about doing it now.
Know When to Stop
When exercising during pregnancy, the most important thing to do is to listen to your body. As much as it is important to stay active, your and your baby’s safety should be your top priority. If you suspect any signs of a problem, stop what you’re doing, and don’t hesitate to contact your doctor immediately. Some common warning signs include vaginal bleeding, headache, dizziness, chest pain, uterine contractions that continue despite rest, decreased fetal movement, pain and swelling in the calves, and fluid leaking from the vagina.
If you experience an increased shortness of breath, your health-care provider may check your pulse oximetry levels to ensure that your blood is receiving the adequate amount of oxygen that it needs. This can be done through the use of a pulse oximeter or with a Datex Ohmeda SpO2 sensor. Several tests may also be performed to ensure your health and the safety of your baby.
If you are expecting, there’s no better time to exercise regularly than now. With the several changes that your body undergoes as you go along your pregnancy, regular physical activity can help you cope just fine. If you haven’t been active before, being pregnant is a great motivation to begin doing so.