Today we wanted to talk a little about exercising while pregnant. While exercise might be the last thing you want to do in your current state, it can actually be a great way to increase your energy and feel better! Before starting or changing your exercise program, always consult with your doctor first, especially while pregnant. Your doctor can help you determine what exercises are safe, and what might be risky, depending on your pregnancy and body.
Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, keep in mind a few things when you start exercising with your rapidly changing body. As your tummy and baby grow, your balance will change, as the extra weight changes your center of gravity. The additional weight places extra stress on your joints, especially in your lower back and pelvis, and you have a greater risk of falls. The changing hormones can affect your joints and ligaments, causing them to relax, which can lead to injury. Take extra precautions to listen to your body as you stretch, and don’t overdo it. As the baby grows, especially during the third trimester, you will start to run out of room, which can cause pressure on the diaphragm, which can lead to shortness of breath, so strenuous exercise might not be possible or wise.
While there are a lot of exercises you should definitely avoid during pregnancy- contact sports, routines that may cause you to overheat such as hot (Bikram) yoga, exercises that have a high risk of falls such as skiing or horseback riding, among others, there are quite a few you can still do, and with modifications you can likely continue with what you already were doing pre-pregnancy. Swimming is excellent during pregnancy, and has the added bonus of taking pressure off joints, and the cool water can help ease pregnancy aches. Yoga can be excellent, and many studios offer special prenatal classes. The breathing techniques and meditation that often go with yoga can help during labor too! Walking, and stationary bicycling are also great ways to keep fit during a pregnancy.
Pregnancy isn’t the time to start training for a marathon if you’ve been a couch potato for most of your life, but staying fit during your pregnancy can help ease the aches, and even benefit you during labor. Labor is intense, and being fit enough and having enough stamina can go a long way in the delivery room, and afterward.