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Houston Fertility Journal

Exercise During Pregnancy: Get Moving Baby!

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 20, 2017 12:22:53 PM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

Center of Reproductive Medicine

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When pregnant, it can be very tempting to spend your extra time relaxing and giving your feet a rest. However, exercising is a much better solution to your aches and pains. It will give you the energy you require and help build to up your strength and stamina where you need it the most.

There are a whole lot of mixed opinions about safety issues and exercising during pregnancy. Some worry that it’s potential to cause harm is too concerning, while others say you should be getting a good amount of movement in daily. As with most things in life, the best thing you can do is gain as much knowledge as you are able, listen to yourself, and maintain a healthy balance.

In 2015, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended that “women without major medical or obstetric complications should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise on most days of the week.” Exercise during pregnancy is a natural mood enhancer and it keeps you in proper shape which will help to prepare you for labor and childbirth.

Still, it is important to remain cautious with how much you are doing. Every woman with child should talk to their health provider before beginning any exercising regime to ensure that what they are doing is safe and that they do not have any existing health conditions that would affect how physical they should be.

Safety Precautions for Exercising During Pregnancy

Exercise is great, but can also potentially cause harm if not approached correctly. Some rules of thumb to follow when exercising during pregnancy include:

Keep a balanced diet.

When you are pregnant, it is natural to put on weight as the baby grows inside of you. There is a certain amount that you need to gain and exercising burns calories, so make sure that you are eating a full and well-balanced diet.

Do not engage in any sports that could be dangerous.

If a sport involves a lot of physical contact, such as football or basketball, you should steer clear to avoid any harmful collisions. Also, refrain from activities that could potentially lead to a bad fall, such as: surfing, horseback riding, or skiing. Scuba diving should be avoided as babies can be affected by the pressure changes.

Always warm up before exercising.

Get your muscles and joints prepared so you don’t end up suffering afterward. Warming up also helps your heart health by giving it a steady rise in rate so it is prepared for the activity you are getting ready to engage in.

Drink a lot of water.

Make sure to keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after working out. Dehydration can reduce the amount of blood flowing to the placenta, cause overheating, and even trigger contractions.

Do not lie flat on your back.

Lying on your back can cause the weight in your uterus to put pressure onto a vein called the vena cava. This can restrict the blood flow to your heart, brain, and uterus.

Take your time when getting up from the floor.

Your balance and center of gravity gets all out of whack the more that your stomach grows. Changing positions too fast may cause you to lose balance and fall.

Cool down.

Make sure to cool down at the end of your workout for the same reasons that you should warm up. Your heart rate needs this time to transition and find it’s way back to normal. Take 5-10 minutes to do some light stretching.

Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women

The following activities are usually safe for most pregnant women, but you should confirm with your doctor on your specific body, health, and pregnancy. As you get closer to your due date you should check back in with your doctor about your workout and whether or not you should start scaling back.

Walking.

Walking is an excellent way to get the heart rate up without putting too much strain on your joints. You can do this no matter where you are and it is a safe exercise option for all terms of pregnancy.

Swimming.

Swimming is one of the most common doctor recommended exercises for pregnant women. It works out the muscles in the arms and legs, is good for the heart, reduces swelling, and makes you feel lighter on your feet.

Running.

Running is another great way to get your heart rate up and build up your endurance. Those who did not run on a regular basis before pregnancy should pace themselves in the beginning and gradually work up to running longer lengths to avoid overworking or injuring themselves.

Yoga.

Yoga helps to maintain flexibility and muscle tone. Combine yoga with something like swimming so you are also getting some cardiovascular benefit.

Weight training.

Lifting weights will tone muscles and build up your strength, but make sure that you take your time and are using proper techniques.

Keep Talking With Your Doctor

Make sure to be in continuous communication with your doctor about how your body is doing and what is safe for you to do at the different points in pregnancy.

You may be told to stop exercising if you experience:

  • high blood pressure
  • cervical or placenta problems
  • vaginal bleeding
  • preterm labor
  • multiple pregnancy
  • premature membrane rupture
  • sever anemia

Do not continue to exercise and make an appointment with you doctor if you experience:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • unusual heartbeat
  • uterine contractions
  • fluid leaking from the vagina
  • decreased movement from the baby
  • calf pain or discomfort
  • weakness in the muscles that is throwing off your balance

Overall, exercise is always a positive way to help you adjust to physical changes in your body and get you prepared for challenges to come. As long as you are listening to your body, keeping your doctor updated, and being mindful, you can’t go wrong with a good dose of daily exercise.

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Topics: Health, Pregnancy

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