While many women may find it tempting to sit back and simply enjoy the relaxed pace that sometimes comes with pregnancy, it is critical for pregnant women to exercise in order to stay in good physical condition during the duration of their pregnancy. Still, many women have questions related to what types of exercises are safe and beneficial to themselves and their unborn child. When eating and exercising in the right way, many of the discomforts and concerns that come with pregnancy can be alleviated. For instance, backaches and fatigue are a regular part of the experience for most pregnant women. However, exercising the right muscle groups can fight off these physical symptoms as your body adjusts and changes throughout the pregnancy. Among the other advantages of regular exercise during pregnancy are decreases in stress levels, increased stamina for labor, and the reduced risk of developing pregnancy-related diabetes.
The Medical Recommendations
Most physical exercises that the normal, active person carries out can be continued during a normal pregnancy as long as they are conducted in moderation. That being said, every exercise routine should be monitored by an obstetrician. In most cases, recommendations will include low-impact activities that focus primarily on aerobics. According to the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics, pregnant women will benefit from at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise nearly every day of the week. However, there are some conditions that arise during pregnancy that should could make regular exercise inadvisable. These conditions include a low placenta, the threat or history of miscarriages, a weakened cervix, bleeding, and a history of premature births or labor.
Exercises with Benefits
Maternal fetal specialist Dr. Gilbert Webb says exercising during pregnancy can help expecting mothers stay healthy and feel better. The exercises that offer pregnant women the best results with the lowest amount of risk are those that minimize impact on the body while working out critical muscles and bodily systems. Among the most beneficial routines are swimming, increased walking, low-impact aerobics, and tennis. Including those mentioned above, most exercises for pregnant women can be continued up until the time of delivery. However, exercises and games that include a great deal of motion and balance should be limited as the due date for the pregnancy approaches. Such physical exertion includes activities such as tennis, jogging, and free biking.
Activities to Avoid
There are also exercises and particular activities that should be avoided during pregnancy in order to reduce the risks to the unborn child. Those requiring you to hold your breath for long periods of time are not recommended. Contact sports or activities where there is an elevated risk of falling are not advised. Any exercise that requires bouncing or jumping motions should be avoided as well. Movements that excessively twist the waist can also have negative side effects for pregnant women. You should avoid exercising in hot or humid conditions, and resist the urge to exercise after long periods of inactivity that may result in undue stress on the body.
The workouts that you develop during pregnancy should have a heavy emphasis on muscle development. Additionally, every exercise should include a warming up and stretching period that lasts for about five minutes. Once fully engaged in your routine, your activities should include at least 15 minutes that focus exclusively on the cardiovascular system. This activity should involve monitoring your heartbeat at the peak intervals of activity as well. Exercise routines should also include a cooling down period that extends between five and ten minutes that is followed by additional, gentle stretching routines. Pregnant women should follow a few other simple guidelines regardless of the type of exercise in which they engage. Adjust your calorie intake to account for your pregnancy and your exercise routine. Eating should always be done at least one hour before exercising. You should also ensure safety by working out on a flat surface and wearing comfortable clothing.
You can continue your exercise routine after pregnancy in order to get back into shape. However, follow the medical recommendations given to you. Most women are able to engage in low-impact routines in the two weeks following birth.