How to Stay In Shape During Pregnancy
Staying in shape during pregnancy keeps your muscles strong and gives you the energy you need for a healthy labor and delivery. Keeping fit also makes it easier to get back to your pre-pregnancy body weight, notes KidsHealth.
Walking, cycling, swimming and yoga are generally safe forms of exercise for women who are pregnant. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout your pregnancy will help you sleep better and feel more physically and emotionally fit.
7 Steps to Stay In Shape During Pregnancy
1. Talk to your doctor.
He can offer you advice on a fitness plan that will best suit your particular situation. An exercise program should consider any current or previous pregnancy complications.
Your doctor may tell you to avoid jogging and other high-impact aerobic exercise if you’ve had a miscarriage in the past, reports the American Pregnancy Association.
2. Find a level of exercise that works for you.
You want to give your body a workout but not overdo it. Avoid activities that are too strenuous or involve bouncing or jarring movements. Even if your doctor allows you to do some aerobic and strength-training exercise, Ask Dr. Sears cautions against lifting more than five-pound weights.
Hormones make your joints more susceptible to injury during pregnancy. Use lighter weights and increase the number of reps you do.
3. Walk approximately 30 minutes three or four times a week.
Although walking is a low-impact exercise, slow the intensity of your workout, especially during the last trimester. If you push yourself too hard, more blood flows to your muscles instead of to the uterus, points out WebMD.
4. Ride a bicycle or stationary bike.
Both exercises increase your heart rate, but they can become uncomfortable during those last months of pregnancy when your back hurts and your stamina decreases.
5. Swim or enroll in a water aerobics class.
Swimming is an exercise highly recommended for pregnant women. Working out in water strengthens and tones muscles and reduces water retention. Less fluid retention prevents swollen feet and ankles.
6. Practice yoga exercises as part of your workout routine.
The deep-breathing techniques help you relax and teach you how to focus your breathing for when you’re in labor. Yoga exercises also improve your balance and tone your abdominal muscles.
7. Listen to your body.
Stop exercising if your heart starts racing or you get short of breath. If your breathing becomes so labored that you can’t talk, it’s time to quit.
Pain in your pelvic region or back can also be a sign that you are overly fatigued and should reduce the duration and intensity of your exercise.
Tips & Warnings
- Talk to your obstetrician before starting any new exercise routine — even walking. If you walk up hills or on other surfaces that aren’t flat, be careful not to lose your balance, since your center of gravity changes as your belly grows.
- Start out slowly if you weren’t active before you got pregnant. While regular physical activity is healthy for you and your baby, you should build up the intensity of your exercise gradually.
- Contact your doctor immediately if you have spotting or vaginal bleeding, pain, dizziness, or other symptoms that concern you during or after exercise.