Exercise During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is no time to start running marathons if you’ve never done it before. But there are plenty of things you can do to stay in shape during your pregnancy, even if you’re not already a world-class athlete.

Before starting any exercise program, talk to your midwife or physician to make sure it’s safe for you to begin. Common reasons to avoid exercise in pregnancy include vaginal bleeding or if you have a history of pre-term labor.

If you have a major medical illness like heart disease or diabetes, talk to your doctor first, but in many cases, mild exercise such as walking or swimming is OK. In fact, swimming is an ideal exercise for pregnant women, along with low-impact aerobics, walking and dancing. Weight training is also fine, in moderation.

It is critically important to drink enough water while exercising and to avoid exercising outdoors when the weather is hot and humid. Dehydration is dangerous for the mother and fetus. The baby’s temperature is higher than yours to begin with and increases slightly when you exercise. That’s why drinking water is so important. And, water is what your body needs; there’s no need for expensive sports drinks.

If you are a trained athlete such as a runner or a cross-country skier, you will probably be able to pursue your sport throughout the pregnancy. Expect to slow down in the last half of the third trimester, and remember that you may have a hard time catching your breath.

Your body will change in a number of ways to accommodate the growing fetus.
Your ligaments get looser from hormonal changes so your pelvis can enlarge during delivery.
Your center of gravity changes, moving forward due to the weight of the baby and of the increased size of your breasts, making any exercise that involves balance, like skiing, much more difficult.
Your lower (lumbar) spine curves forward due to the change in your center of gravity, making you more prone to low back pain.
Although it’s best to remain active, there are certain sports that should be avoided during pregnancy. They include:

  • scuba diving
  • snowboarding
  • downhill skiing (after the first trimester)
  • competitive sports in which there is a risk of abdominal trauma or of falling including ice hockey, soccer, basketball, gymnastics and horseback riding

Exercise is not harmful to the baby in a normal pregnancy. Most babies grow well even if their mothers exercise. Some studies have suggested a bit less body fat among the infants of women who exercise strenuously during pregnancy. If you experience heat exhaustion or your doctor finds that the baby isn’t growing normally, it’s best to stop working out until after your delivery.

Staying in shape through walking and swimming has dozens of benefits in pregnancy. It burns calories so that you can keep your weight in check and helps you digest food more easily and avoid constipation. Exercise improves circulation and keeps your body from retaining fluid and decreases your chances of getting varicose veins. The muscle tone you’ll gain will help you in your delivery and in getting back in shape after the baby is born.

So, if you’re not pregnant yet, now is a good time to start exercising, and even if you are pregnant, moderate exercise, even a regular brisk walk, can pay off.

For many women conceiving a baby may become frustrating, illusive. Here you’ll get a lot of effective, easy ways to get pregnant naturally and fast.

January 27th, 2012 - Posted in Women's Health | | Comments Off

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