Are you an exercise freak? Do you love to spend your evenings pounding the sidewalks or doing lengths at your local pool? If you are that girl and then you find yourself pregnant it can be a confusing time. You want to keep up your good work don’t you? Surely taking care of yourself is even more important now that you are carrying such precious cargo? Of course you want to keep exercising but at what cost? Is it safe to exercise while pregnant? Of course it is! There are many different types of exercise that are safe to do while pregnant.
For a start labour is a tiring and enduring process. The more physically fit you are then the better your stamina. And the better your stamina the better you will be able to handle such a physically exerting task like bringing a new born baby into the world! Many agree that exercising during pregnancy can even help to give you a shorter labour and increase your chances of giving birth vaginally. Exercising stretches the muscles. This can ease of whole host of pregnancy niggles and aches and pains. Walking improves the circulation which can ease the look and discomfort of varicose veins and swimming strengthens those tummy muscles and supports the weight of your growing bump. There are tons of safe exercises out there for a fitter pregnancy including brisk walking, gentle spin classes, aqua-natal classes and swimming.
But there are some things to remember. Don’t exhaust yourself for one. It’s tiring enough growing another human inside you so remember you may need to slow down during your pregnancy. This is normal. Enjoy it and relax. The safest forms of exercise when you are expecting are swimming, brisk walking, using an indoor exercise bike, step or elliptical machines and low-impact aerobics. These activities carry little risk of injury, benefit your entire body and can be continued until birth.
It’s safer to stick to nothing too strenuous, especially not in hot weather. If you go to classes, then be sure that the instructor knows that you are pregnant and is aware how far gone you are. Exercises that have a risk of falling such as skiing, gymnastics, horse riding or ice hockey should be approached with caution. We don’t want you injuring yourself or that bun you’ve got in the oven! It’s best to avoid any contact sports where there is a risk of being hit. So no karate, kickboxing or squash.It’s safest not to lie flat on your back, especially after the 16 week mark. The weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart. This can make you feel faint. As the baby has no protection against decompression and sickness and gas embolism, scuba diving should be avoided at all costs. Don’t exercise at heights of over 2,500m above sea level or else you risk altitude sickness for both you and your little one.
So what’s the safesst exercises you can do during the first trimester? Try doing a light weight work-out three days a week, resting at least a day between each session. Compliment this with a cardio work-out three days per week, on the days in-between your weight work-out. Remember to always warm up and cool down and not to push yourself too hard if you feel tired. The first trimester can be an exhausting time! Exercising during the second trimester can be a great way of keeping your energy levels up and helping you to sleep well at night. Aerobic activities such as jogging and swimming, relaxation techniques and strength training are all appropriate during the second trimester of pregnancy. Even if you didn’t exercise before, you can still safely begin a routine during the second trimester. Stretching continues to be important during your third and final trimester. Just be cautious of laying on your back and try and use a yoga block instead. Power walking is considered to be really useful during the last trimester as it allows gravity to help the final stages of pregnancy progress. As exercising on your feet can become a struggle by this point, another great way to keep going is by stationary cycling. The bike will not only support your weight but help to reduce bodily swelling by increasing circulation.
When done sensibly, exercise is not dangerous to your baby – so keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise for as long as you feel comfortable. And reap the benefits for both you and your little one later on!