Congratulations, you are expecting! But now you are expected to keep up your health and, in addition, the health of another human being. Don’t worry, there are simple ways to keep fit while carrying your little one for nine months. Make sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you are experiencing any pregnancy complications. But know there are plenty of benefits from exercise while you are pregnant even if you may not be feeling like your usual self. Here are a few advantages as well as tips and precautions:
Sure, you may be planning on getting all the drugs, but for those who are going for it with natural childbirth a regular exercise schedule may help you have an easier delivery when you have more stamina for pushing during labor. It also could be a faster delivery according to Fitness Magazine.
Bye, bye back pain
A common issue for pregnant mothers is strain on the back, however for those who do activities like water aerobics, yoga, or light stretching with pelvic tilts, can help to alleviate the pressure on the lumbar region. According to Spine Health, these gentle movements can and strengthen muscles, decrease spasms, and improve spinal functions, which can really help get you back on track.
Gain less weight
According to Fit Pregnancy, you could put on 7 pounds less than pregnant women who don’t exercise. Not only that, but you may deliver a baby that weighs less as well, which, according to Web MD, reduces the infant’s risk of obesity later on.
Less leg swelling
According to Livestrong walking helps reduce swelling by increasing circulation. Five minutes can get the heart pumping and fluid flowing. If you can improve your time up to 30 minutes you should be able to increase your leg strength, and still wear those sweet anklets you like, all throughout your pregnancy.
Less morning sickness
It is a bit of a catch 22. You don’t feel like working out when you feel like you’re about to lose your lunch. However, getting up and moving can help you to feel less queasy. The routine can even get your mind off the nausea. Feel it out and take it slow. No need to push it if you are really feeling like you might toss your cookies.
Become more athletic
Some babies whose mothers exercised while they were in utero became more athletic. According to The New Yorker, endurance runner Linda Renfro who continued running while pregnant, had children who excelled at the sport and went on to compete on Stanford’s track team and run marathons. Serena Williams, who won the Australia Open while 5 months pregnant, continued to compete throughout her pregnancy. Only time will tell whether or not her progeny will be a world-class athlete (place bets on yes).
Not only will it make you feel better during waking hours but getting your sweat on will help you catch some Zs as well. According to Best Health, even something small as a five-minute effort can help you relax more at night and drift off to sleep.
According to Fit Pregnancy, a study found that prenatal yoga helped to improve moods in pregnant woman. The study, published in Women’s Health Issues found that researches at Brown University studied pregnant women with depression who participated in a weekly yoga class for 10 weeks. The result was that the overall mood for those with mild forms of depression lifted. Not only can the increase of deep breathing help oxygen flow to the brain, but the improved body image could be an issue for moms with the blues as well.
After being schooled on all of these assets you should be completely onboard with prenatal exercise. But how much do you need? According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, pregnant women should, on average, should get 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. Most doctors will tell you to keep it on the level – if you were active before you got knocked up, then you can keep up that routine. If you were more of a couch potato before you were in-the-pink, then now wouldn’t be the best time to start training for that 10K However, you can still get your aerobics in. Work your way up to an active lifestyle by doing 15 minutes a day and building up to 30. Low impact exercises like swimming or walking can lessen the pressure on your joints as your belly grows. If you were a marathon runner or premium weightlifter before the rabbit done died, you still will want to tailor your exercises to the way your body is changing. Even with a doctor’s OK, some exercises may be too extreme on a pregnant body and may require adjustments.
As with any type of exercise, there are certain guidelines so as not to injure yourself. Of course, when pregnant you must take extra precautions:
Don’t overdo it
Exercise to the amount of your ability and if you feel yourself getting out of breath, back off. According to Web MD, you should be able to sing Happy Birthday without running out of breath while exercising.
Your target temp should be below 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t get overheated.
Slow and steady
Give yourself permission to move at a different pace as you may not have the same energy level you normally do since you are carting two people around instead of one.
Choose your game
Plan on a certain amount and type of exercise depending on the trimester you are in. According to Fitness, it is suggested that those in the second trimester don’t lie flat on their back, and should instead use a stability ball. Likewise, lying completely on the stomach will tend to get uncomfortable and may put pressure on the aorta and IVC and may cause your heart to race. In addition, in the third trimester, it is a good idea to skip any exercises with twisting motions.
If you are doing anything that causes dizziness, vaginal bleeding, chest pain, or uterine contractions, um, stop? Being healthy means not hurting yourself. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Pumped up kicks
While it is always important to wear proper footwear while working out, its even more important while with child. Added weight on your feet and ankles can cause swelling so you need to make sure you are giving them enough support.
Stretch it out
Also, when you are pregnant your heart rate is naturally elevated so it is important to take more time to warm up properly as well as cool down after you work out.
It should go without saying that water, the stuff of life, is key.
If you are looking for the perfect preggo workout, you are in luck. Many gyms and studios now offer tailor-made classes for you and your little one on the way. Prenatal yoga and Pilates are offered at many studios, and since balance is generally an issue, mommy barre classes have become all the rage. Water exercise classes are very popular as they are very low impact and many moms enjoy the feeling of weightlessness. Not only will you be doing something good for you and your tiny dancer in these exercise classes, but you may meet other expectant mothers you can bond with. You might even start a future mommy and me group or swap baby tips. Not feeling up to a class atmosphere? Walking, a light jog or easy weight training are all good ways to stay in shape on your own.
There are certain workouts, that no matter how proficient you are, that should be avoided when you have a bun in the oven. Hot yoga is too hot and there is too much of an opportunity to get dehydrated. Downhill skiing is thumbs down. Any sport that combines great height with velocity probably isn’t a good idea, especially when you can come tumbling down, Jack and Jill style. Even if you are a regular Peekaboo Street, it really isn’t worth the risk. Sit 9 months out in the lodge or if you must, try the bunny slopes and wait to hit the diamond trails after you have your baby. Exercise that may create a lack of oxygen, like scuba diving, is also frowned upon. Wait to take that tropical under-the-sea trip until post-baby, just to be on the safe side. Also on the list to avoid are any contact sports such as ice hockey, rugby, soccer, kickboxing, or basketball, where there is a chance you could be elbowed or knocked in the stomach. Riding is also not safe. Skip the Preakness and leave the Derby to the jockeys for a while. Even bike riding isn’t recommended far past the first trimester, as it is too much of a risk if you take a spill.
Whichever way you choose to move, remember that your body is going through a lot of changes. Go easy on yourself and do what feels right for you and your baby.