Pregnancy and Exercising: 7 Dos and 4 Don’ts When You’re Expecting
It seems that the worry that comes with motherhood starts the moment you find out there’s a baby on board. FBG contributor Kelly Turner recently reported on healthy weight gain and the benefits of exercise during pregnancy. Today, she’s got the 411 on pregnancy and exercising.
When pregnant, your main focus is the health of your baby, and a healthy mommy is a necessary part of that equation. Exercising while pregnant makes some women wary; they, of course, do not want to do anything wrong to potentially put the baby, or themselves, at risk, but not having a proper fitness routine is an even greater risk. Here is an easy list of do’s and don’ts for exercising safely when pregnant.
7 Pregnancy Exercise DOs
1. Do stretch before and after each workout. Be aware that your joints may be more flexible as the body produces the hormone relaxin, which loosens joints in preparation for the birth.
2. Do drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. “Staying adequately hydrated during pregnancy is hard enough,” says Kellee Bryan, community manager at EveryMove, and mom of two boys Riley, 10, and Avi, 21 months. “Add exercise to the equation, and it’s even harder,”
3. Do avoid overheating. The first trimester is when the baby’s major organs begin to form, and if your core temperature gets too high, it could potentially cause problems.
4. Do strength train consistently, but keep the weights light.
5. Do continue to run if you have made a habit of it already and your doctor says it’s okay.
6. Do strengthen your abdominals and pelvic floor muscles to help ease labor.
7. Do listen to your body. If you need to rest, do it. “A float in the pool is a great way to take weight off of taxed muscles and joints, and can work miracles for swollen ankles,” says Bryan.
4 Pregnancy Exercise DON’Ts
1. Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion. The ‘talk test’ is the an easy way to prevent overexertion while exercising. If you can’t easily carry on a conversation while you exercise, you need to dial back the intensity.
2. Don’t do exercises that require you to lie on your back, like crunches, during the second and third trimester.
3. Don’t begin running if you haven’t made a habit of it before your pregnancy.
4. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Stop exercising if you notice dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding, and contact your doctor if symptoms persist after you stop your workout.
Regular exercise can help you cope with the physical changes of pregnancy and build stamina for the taxing physical challenges ahead. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, use pregnancy as your motivation to begin now. Your baby, and post-baby body, will thank you.
What were your favorite exercises during pregnancy? —Kelly Turner