Congratulations, you’re having a baby!
You’re doing everything you can to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby but you’re not sure if exercising is right for you. I understand, you really don’t want to risk a miscarriage or an early delivery. Well, rest assured: it is absolutely safe to exercise during pregnancy, it’s even recommended!
As long as you are having a healthy pregnancy, it is ok to exercise. If you were physically active before you were pregnant, it’s safe to remain active during pregnancy.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits for the mom-to-be and the baby, during the pregnancy but also after birth.
Benefits during pregnancy
30 minutes of exercise a day, five days a week is enough to get the benefits. The important thing is to stay active and get your blood flowing.
Some of the perks of exercising during pregnancy:
- May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
- Helps you sleep better. We know that sleep can be disrupted by the end of the pregnancy, and you don’t want to feel tired before the baby is even waking you up every 2 hours!
- Increases your energy. Pregnancy is tiring. Exercising regularly will make you feel more energized and you’ll be able to make it through the day.
- Improves your mood. Hormones are all over the place during pregnancy. You can stabilize that with regular exercise. It can also lessen mood swings, improve your self-image (which is veeeery important during pregnancy. No you are not a fat whale!)
- Keeps you fit during pregnancy and it may help you cope with labor. Studies suggest that a good fitness level will result in a shorter labor, less medical intervention and less exhaustion. Bear in mind that being fit will not decrease the pain of going through labor, but you will have enough endurance to get through it and get this baby out safely.
- Improves blood circulation and prevents varicose veins, leg cramps and swelling of the ankles.
- Prevent back pain
- Prevent constipation, hemorrhoids…
- Better quality of life overall during your pregnancy, and after.
The first is that you will likely get back in shape faster after your baby is born if you exercise regularly during pregnancy than if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
Exercising during pregnancy can also help reduce postpartum depression as you will feel good in your body and mind.
Benefits for the baby:
Exercise increases the growth of the placenta in early pregnancy. The faster the growth, the bigger the placenta will become, the more nutrients and calories will be provided to the baby. So exercising helps you have a strong and healthy baby!
Your baby will also have an increase cardiovascular reserve and will be more prepared to labor. Its heart rate will be more stable during the delivery and the baby will be able to cope better with contractions. Exercising during pregnancy may also boost your future child’s athletic potential.
Moreover, your baby will most likely be svelter without compromising bone growth and general development.
Recommended types of exercise.
Of course, not all types of exercises are OK for moms-to-be. You have to take precautions. Obviously, now is NOT the time to do a high intensity jump rope workout!
Before attempting any type of exercise, you should ask your doctor. If you and your baby are healthy, there is a chance that they will recommend it.
Once your doctor gives you the thumbs up, keep the following in mind:
Don’t exercise too strenuously. When you exercise, your blood goes from your internal organs (the uterus in particular) to give more oxygen to your muscle, lungs and heart.
The recommended heart rate level for pregnant women is no more than 140 bpm. The thing is, you should always be able to hold a conversation while exercising. Exercising in water is great because it’s low impact and gives you a sense of weightlessness.
As your belly grows, your center of gravitation changes, and you are more at risks of falling and getting hurt. Favor activities such as low impact aerobics, walking or swimming. Avoid activities such as horseback riding, skiing, mountain climbing, biking and contact sports.
Exercising increases your body temperature, which can affect the baby’s development. Avoid exercising in hot weather and drink plenty of water.
When to stop?
You should be aware of these warning signs that may indicate you need to change your workout routine.
Check with your doctor if you experience any of these warning signs:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Unusual pain
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Fluid leaking from your vagina
- Muscle cramps
You should stop exercising if you feel cramped, lightheaded, dizzy, tired or too hot.
Maybe you thought being pregnant gives you an excuse to be lazy and watch Netflix all day, but I’m afraid it’s the complete opposite! So get up, put those sneakers on, and workout!