While many women consider pregnancy a “free pass” when it comes to exercise, it’s probably not the healthiest option. It can be tricky, though – you’re not feeling your best, so working out may not be your top priority. Exercise may not even be crossing your mind! At one time, doctors even advised their pregnant patients to take it easy and avoid raising their heart rate too high. When considering workouts while pregnant, it may be unclear as to what you can do. There are many safe exercise ideas out there, some you may not have even considered.
Today, doctors no longer recommend that pregnant women avoid exercise, whether it be strength or cardio. In fact, exercise is now encouraged and advised by Obstetricians for most patients. It’s vital to get the go-ahead from your doctor if you are pregnant and are considering an exercise program. If your doctor gives you the “go ahead,” then it’s time to educate yourself about the benefits, risks, and safe exercise ideas you can implement.
What Are the Benefits of Exercising When Pregnant?
One of the very best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy is to exercise and keep your body moving, especially during the latter part of your pregnancy. Exercise during pregnancy can result in the following benefits:
- Digestion improvements
- Healthier amount of weight gain
- Strong heart, lungs, and even blood vessels
- Less back pain
- Decreased risk of complications like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and more
- Stress relief
- Good night’s sleep
While there are many benefits to working out when you’re expecting, it’s crucial to talk with your doctor about specific things you should avoid. You will need to alter some exercises to make sure they are safe for you and your baby. These modified movements may change depending on where you’re at in your pregnancy as well.
Staying Safe While Exercising During Pregnancy
As a soon-to-be new mom, it’s wise to take a few precautions while exercising so that you and your baby are comfortable and safe during each workout. A few of those safeguards include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Staying cool (work out in a ventilated, breezy place)
- Avoiding laying on your back for too long (after the first trimester)
- Keeping away from movements that could cause impact or push on the baby
- Watching your balance and finding ways to implement extra stability
- Buying a good sports bra and possibly a maternity support belt for your growing belly
- Being aware that you don’t get overly tired
- Asking your doctor for safe exercise ideas
By taking these precautions and any others that your doctor may have, you’ll be keeping yourself and your baby safe as well as giving yourself that extra strength and umph you need to meet that new baby! Prioritizing movement during pregnancy will also help your body recover more quickly after the baby is born.
Safe Exercise Ideas
If you did not work out before you were pregnant, it’s a good idea to start slow and ease into it. When you start small, limit intense workouts, and stick to 20-30 minutes, you can safely navigate a new exercise routine. Here are a few other safe exercise ideas to keep in mind:
- Use short intervals of intensity for your cardio workouts. This will give the baby enough oxygen during your movements as well as provide you an effective exercise.
- Towards the end of your pregnancy, avoid exercises done on the floor. It can be hard to go between standing and laying on the ground several times, and you can grow tired just from those movements. Plus, you have the chance of straining your back.
- Avoid exercises and activities like horseback riding, scuba diving, hot yoga, contact sports, downhill skiing, and more to keep you and your baby safe.
- Try talking normally during your training. If you can’t speak without losing breath while working out, you may be working too hard.
- Activities like prenatal Pilates and prenatal yoga can help you develop calming methods, practice breathing, and more that could help you during labor pains.
- Some of the safest exercises during pregnancy include: walking, swimming, water aerobics, riding a stationary bike, yoga and Pilates classes, strength training, and low-impact workouts
Don’t make working out something stressful or too big in your mind, or you’ll never do it. Making sure that you’re moving, in general, is a great start. Taking a walk with your partner may be just what your body needs to feel good.
Listen to Your Body
Listen to your body as you work out and if you feel something isn’t right, stop. Although it’s important to exercise, it’s also essential to keep yourself and your baby safe. So call your doctor if you are experiencing:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Chest pain
- Leaking fluid from your vagina
- Painful contractions that don’t stop after resting
Working Out May Not Be Safe for You
Generally, physical activity is safe for pregnant women if done with care and safety in mind. For some women, though, it may not be advisable. Your doctor can help you know what is best for your unique situation and the safest for you and your baby. For example, it may be unsafe for you to exercise while you’re pregnant if you:
- Are experiencing preterm labor (before 37 weeks) or bleeding from the vagina
- Are pregnant with multiples
- Develop gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
- Have anemia or heart or lung issues
- Have placenta previa
Get Moving for You and Your Baby
Moving just a little bit every day can help you shake off some of the unpleasant parts of pregnancy and your overall feeling of wellness. Use your best judgment and talk with your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have.
If you are ready to start moving and are looking for a great gym to get started in, join Fitness Nation today. We have all the workout gear and safe exercise ideas you need to reach your goals and feel better.