The Dos and Don’ts of Exercising During Pregnancy  

Jun 4 2014     /     , , , ,

Written by: Jessica Drake

 

There is much confusion surrounding things that you can and can’t do during pregnancy, these are mostly the result of old wives tales and outdated advice. In this article I hope to outline things you should consider when planning your pregnancy workout regime.

Working out during your pregnancy is advised by most physicians as it is beneficial for you and  your baby,  however it is important to talk to your doctor beforehand as you may have a specific medical condition that may make it unsafe for you (or your baby) to exercise.

Some professionals suggest that working out during pregnancy can possibly result in an easier and quicker labor.

 

The Dos

These are the things you should definitely consider doing while working out.

 

a) Drink plenty of water:

 

It is important to always stay hydrated and even more so during pregnancy. To know how much fluid to take, you should divide your weight in half and drink water of that amount in fluid ounces.

It is usually advised to drink water an hour before you start working out and to re-hydrate every fifteen minutes or so while working out.

 

b) Warm up:

 

Warm up before working out even if you aren’t pregnant. Warm up is essential because it allows your muscles to stretch which allows them to function optimally. It also reduces the chance of injury i.e. muscle pulls. A warm up also tends to affect your endurance, allowing you to work out for longer periods of time.

 

c) Abdominal workouts should be an important part of your program:

 

There is a lot of controversy surrounding this because some mothers-to-be may consider it dangerous to work/strain the area near the baby bump. Well, rest assured, it isn’t dangerous, on the contrary most doctors advise their patients on doing so.

Your abdominals and your entire core, including your pelvic floor should be strengthened during pregnancy as it will be quite advantageous, not only during labor and delivery but also during recovery. It is also said that strengthening these muscles would help one avoid posture problems, which are quite common after pregnancy.

 

d) Know when to stop:

 

The ACOG recommends 30 minutes of exercise on most or all days of the week. This is by no means an absolute necessity, we all have different bodies and endurance, and therefore you should not push yourself too far.

A simple test can tell you whether you’re straining yourself or not. Simply try and talk, if you can talk normally, you are fine, however if you are breathing too hard then you ought to stop and cool down.

 

The Don’ts

This a list of things that you should avoid at all costs, as they can have dangerous results.

 

a) Don’t lie flat on your back:

 

Lying down flat on your back can be dangerous as this position tends to put pressure on the vena cava, a major vein bringing blood back to the heart, this pressure reduces the blood flowing to your brain leaving you feeling nauseous and faint.

Place a pillow under your lower back to avoid this.

 

b) Don’t stretch past your pre-pregnancy limit:

 

During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone helps lubricate joints so as to reduce the strain of work and it tends to make labor to be easier.

The lubricated joints are able of stretching far more than what you normally would have been able to do. This is not necessarily a good thing as it makes you prone to certain fitness injuries.

So don’t overstretch.

 

c) Avoid exercises that involve balancing

 

Exercises like biking and skiing that involve you to balance should be avoided. This is because after the fourth month of your pregnancy your ability to balance is greatly affected due to the shift in your center of gravity.

 

The above are mostly things you should focus on however there are things that would help you work out more efficiently and to better results:

Consult a trainer: There are special kinds of gym trainers that focus on helping mothers in all stages of pregnancy with their pursuit of a good health.

These trainers will help you work on specific groups of muscles that will be most helpful during your pregnancy and prevent you from hurting yourself or the baby during your training sessions.

 

 Wear the right clothes: It is important to wear clothes that sit comfortably with your growing form. And you should try and wear layers of clothes that you can peel off if it gets too hot while working out. Also make sure your maternity bra offers enough support.

A website dedicated to providing maternity clothes for women usually have a section for clothes that can be worn while working out as well as a wide array of maternity lingerie. Mommylicious Maternity is a good option as they usually have discounts on clothes, which could really save you a pretty penny.

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