Exercise during Pregnancy
Regular exercise can help reduce pregnancy niggles
Regular exercise during pregnancy is known to ease the symptoms associated with pregnancy as well as making the physical and mental demands of the condition easier to cope with. Exercise will also help prepare the pregnant mom for the rigors of labour.
Maintaining fitness levels throughout pregnancy is an essential part of reducing the risk of medical problems such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Regular exercise is known to reduce stress levels, boost confidence, and mood, control weight gain, and improve sleep – these benefits are likely to continue during the postnatal period enabling a quick return to pre-pregnancy weight.
Aims of exercise during pregnancy
The best types of exercise during pregnancy are those have the following benefits –
Activities that are of particular benefit to pregnant women include walking, swimming, jogging, aqua-natal classes, and use of an exercise bike. These exercises are all considered safe during pregnancy – but should not be done to excess. Many places offer yoga or Pilates classes aimed specifically at pregnant women – be careful to choose a class with a qualified, experienced instructor.
Exercise to avoid
Exercise that carries with it the risk of being throw or of falling should be avoided, as should exercise that involves rough contact. These sports include –
New to exercise
Any individual who has never taken part in physical exercise should not begin a new exercise program during pregnancy – it is mild to moderate exercise can be enjoyed three or four times a week but it is essential to discuss any new exercise plans with your midwife or doctor. Low impact exercises such as swimming or walking are eminently suitable for an exercise novice and there are many antenatal exercise classes available that are ideal for those seeking to improve their levels of physical activity.
Rigorous exercise during pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy should have the goal of maintaining a good level of fitness rather than of achieving peak fitness – pregnant women should be able to take part in a normal conversation whilst exercising.
High intensity workouts should be avoided during pregnancy – even if you have regularly taken part in this type of exercise previously. High intensity workouts may cause too much stress on joints and the muscles in the pelvic floor.
It is important to avoid over exercising – too much exercise may cause your baby to have a low birth weight. The ideal amount of exercise is thirty minutes for no more than three times per week.
It is essential not to exercise to the point of exhaustion – if you feel tired or that you have overdone things it is important to rest. Do not rely on heart rate alone to monitor exercise levels – heart rate varies widely during pregnancy. Remember, that once you have had your baby you will be able to work yourself back up to the fitness levels you enjoyed before pregnancy.
When exercising it is important to listen to your body and stop immediately if you experience any of the following –
It is also important to remain aware of the movement of your baby – although baby’s are often most quiet during exercise it is wise to rest if you notice their movements slowing down or stopping. If in doubt, or if you feel something is not quite right, consult your midwife immediately.
Progression of pregnancy and exercise
As your pregnancy progresses you may need to change your exercise program – for those involved in intense levels of exercise prior to pregnancy it is important to reduce those levels during the first trimester in order to avoid overheating.
From the second trimester onwards, exercises involving standing in one place for long periods or lying flat on the back should be avoided as they may cause a reduction in blood flow to the baby.
Do not exercise if......
For some women it may be necessary to avoid exercise or physical exertion during pregnancy, discuss any planned exercise program with your health care professional, particularly if you have any of the following risk factors –
For some women exercise of any kind is not recommended, this includes women who have experienced any of the following -
Threatened miscarriage or premature labour during the current pregnancy
Author's bio: My name is Joanna Stryjak. I am one of the specialists on Webctor.com. The portal is a health center which is responsible for bringing free and accurate medical information to the Internet. You can follow the portal on Twitter