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Exercising While Pregnant

You may think that pregnancy is a time you must rest and relax.  Exercise is just as important during pregnancy as it is for non-pregnant women.  In fact, exercising during pregnancy provides health benefits for both the both mother and the baby.

Why should I exercise?

Exercising during pregnancy may benefit moms-to-be in many ways. Exercising can:

  • boost your energy
  • help you to keep your weight gain within the target range
  • contribute to an overall sense of well-being
  • help to regulate your blood glucose levels, something that may help to reduce your chances of developing gestational diabetes
  • prevent or relieve backache, leg cramps, and constipation
  • help you to get the sleep your body needs
  • get your body ready for childbirth and reduce your recovery time

Can I exercise while I'm pregnant?

Not every pregnant woman should exercise. Some situations make it unsafe for pregnant women, especially if any of the following are true:

  • You are at risk of pre-term labor.
  • You have problems with your pregnancy.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You are pregnant with more than one baby.
  • You have a history of medical problems.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program while you are pregnant.  Most doctors agree that you should not begin an intense exercise routine while pregnant.  Previously active women can maintain the frequency of their pre-pregnancy exercise routine while pregnant.  While women who didn't exercise before getting pregnant will need to limit the amount and intensity of exercise they do.

Start out slowly. Adjust the amount of exercise you do, based on how you feel. If you don't workout often, you may want to do three short sessions (10 minutes each) daily to avoid getting exhausted.

Women who worked out prior to getting pregnant may need to change their routine based upon how they feel. Joggers may want to switch to brisk walking if they get too tired.

What type of exercise can I do?

  • You should choose light activities while you are pregnant. You do not want to put the pressure of the extra weight you are carrying on your joints.Some examples of light exercises are:
    • Lifting light weights (5-10 pounds)
    • Simple aerobics
    • Walking
    • Riding a stationary bike
    • Swimming
  • Do not participate in any activity that could lead to falls or injuries. Any injury to your abdominal area could hurt the baby.
  • After your third month of pregnancy, do not do activities where you have to lie on your back for a long period of time.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time. 

 Check with your local hospitals and gyms.  They may have more information about exercise classes for pregnant women.

 Things to know before you start an exercise program during pregnancy:

  •  If you decide to exercise outdoors, make sure that you plan to avoid hot, sticky weather. Exercise in the early morning or late evening to avoid the heat.
  •  Wear layers of light clothing. Do not use hot tubs, saunas and Jacuzzis because of the risk of increasing your body temperature too high.
  •  If you exercise indoors, make sure the room is cool. Try using a fan and drink plenty of liquids to stay cool.Pregnant women tend to sweat more than usual.
  • Your heart has to pump extra blood to the placenta when you are pregnant. Your exercise pulse rate should not exceed 140 to 145 beats per minute. An elevated heart rate could stress your heart and leave you feeling sick.It could also affect your baby.
  •  Doctors suggest that most pregnant women do 30 minutes or more of light exercise almost every day.  You may want to exercise three days per week. If you feel good and want to do more, you can even try exercising every other day.
  • Try not to do too much. If you are tired, rest and try again the next day
  • Always stretch before and after your exercise.

 Focus on how you feel and follow the exercise routine that works best for you. You will have a healthy, happy, and smart baby and you'll be back in shape in no time!

 *Specialist in sports nutrition and physical activity of MyDiet™


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