Pregnancy and Working Out
Even women who are veteran exercisers are likely to notice a change when they become pregnant. Workouts that used to be only moderately challenging now feel like an uphill battle, and many pregnant women simply feel far more tired than they did before, which makes working out seem like even more of a chore.
Those feelings are natural. Pregnant women have double the blood volume that they had pre-pregnancy. Accordingly, their heart must work far harder to pump blood throughout the body, including the placenta and the fetus.
Moreover, being out of breath more quickly is normal. Pregnant women breathe between 20 and 25 percent more air than women who aren’t pregnant. This is because they must get rid of excess carbon dioxide levels in their blood.
Does this mean that it’s not good for pregnant women to exercise? On the contrary, studies suggest that regular pregnancy workouts may ease constipation and ward off aches and pains. Workouts also improve sleep and minimize the chances of developing gestational diabetes. Depression is less common among pregnant women who exercise too. Exercise even helps to keep those feel-good endorphins flowing.
Also, don’t worry about the old wives’ tales concerning exercise and possible harm to the fetus. Exercise, as long as you stay within the guidelines suggested by your doctor, is wonderful for both you and your baby.
Best Exercises for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time to explore new workouts or to enjoy familiar exercises that are modified for the pregnant woman. Yoga and Pilates are two examples of workouts that can be fantastic during pregnancy.
Both yoga and Pilates work to improve the strength of the core muscles. This helps to support the growing belly and minimize backaches. Yoga further helps expectant mothers to develop a feeling of calm and may encourage regular meditation.
Strength training is another reliable choice for women who are expecting. Most experts suggest keeping these workouts to a low or moderate intensity. Machines and free weights are equally acceptable as are body-weight movements like squats and push-ups.
Cardio is always a good idea whether you’re pregnant or not. If you were really physically active prior to your pregnancy, then keep up to that level as much as you can and within the guidelines that your doctor suggests. If you have been leading a sedentary lifestyle prior to pregnancy, then you can start getting active now. Begin by enjoying a half-hour walk a few times a week before building to more strenuous workouts. Cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes all are acceptable options.
What Not to Do During Pregnancy
Most women who are enjoying a healthy pregnancy will have few exercise restrictions placed on them. Nonetheless, it’s wise not to overdo the exertion. When doing cardio, make certain that you can maintain a conversation.
Also, this is not the time to go for personal best records in the weightlifting department. After your first trimester, you may find that certain yoga and Pilates moves are no longer comfortable. You may want to limit lying on your back or movements that involve excessive twisting.
It’s also wise to resist inversion exercises after the first trimester as these can lead to feelings of light-headedness and nausea.
Exercise offers incredible benefits to pregnant women. Although workouts overall may feel more challenging, this does not mean that being sedentary is a wise choice. Most doctors recommend that women stay active throughout their pregnancy as it may minimize complications and improve mood.
If you need guidance on your fitness journey while you are expecting, we have experience helping other women with prenatal exercise routines and nutrition. This can make a significant difference throughout your pregnancy while further minimizing the risk of postpartum depression. You’ll also feel more fit and energized after giving birth so that you can provide the best possible care for your baby.