Pregnancy

Exercise during Pregnancy

Exercise is beneficial during pregnancy as long as you are healthy and not high risk. Exercising results in fewer aches and pains, is good for your lower back and reduces stress. Women who are in shape tend to have easier labors. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
by Patricia Hughes
Exercise is beneficial during pregnancy as long as you are healthy and not high risk. Exercising results in fewer aches and pains, is good for your lower back and reduces stress. Women who are in shape tend to have easier labors. Talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.  
Your doctor may advise against exercise, if you are experiencing a complication or are considered high risk. The doctor may limit exercise if you have a history of preterm labor, heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, bleeding, multiple : or issues with the placenta or cervix.  
Best Types of Exercise 
Swimming: Swimming is a great choice for  exercise. Its non weight bearing and works all your muscle groups. Later in pregnancy, swimming is great for relieving pressure as your baby gets heavier. Spending time in the water feels great when it’s too hot for other exercise. 
Walking: This is a good, low impact workout. Walking can be done anywhere by people of all fitness levels. Start off slow and don’t overdo it. You can build up to a faster pace or extend the time gradually. Be sure to stay hydrated when walking. Bring a bottle of water with you. Don’t get overheated. In the summer, walk in the early morning or evening, rather than in the hottest part of the day.  
Exercise Equipment: A treadmill or indoor exercise cycle is a good choice when the weather is bad. You can work out any time of the day or night, regardless of the weather with this equipment. It’s important to keep a good pace and not try to do too much. Stay hydrated as you would when walking outdoors.  
Weights: If you have been working out with weights prior to becoming pregnant, it may be safe to continue. Talk to your doctor about your situation and show him your routine for approval. Weight training strengthens your muscles and keeps you in great shape. You may need to use lighter weight than you did prior to pregnancy. Sit when lifting weights to avoid becoming dizzy. Don’t lie on your back in the second or third trimesters.  
Yoga: Prenatal yoga is a great, low impact work out that tones muscles, as well as improving circulation and balance. It also reduces stress and is calming. The deep breathing and relaxation of yoga are beneficial even in labor. Prenatal yoga classes are offered at many yoga studios. The instructor will help you modify the positions based on your fitness level and stage of pregnancy. A prenatal yoga DVD will allow you to practice at home. There are modifications for each trimester on these DVDs. 
Kegel Exercises: These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. This is good for both and bladder control. Problems with bladder control are common during and after pregnancy. To perform these exercises, you contract, hold and release the muscles of the pelvic floor. These muscles can be found when you are using the bathroom. Stop urinating mid stream. The muscles you use for this are the same muscles you should be contracting when doing kegels. Be sure to only contract these muscles and not the abdominal or thigh muscles.  
Precautions When Exercising 
  • Start off slowly and don’t try to do too much. If you feel tired, slow down or stop. Listen to your body. You can gradually build up your pace over time.
  • Be careful not to get overheated. If you are overheated, so is your baby. If the weather is very hot or very cold, go to the gym and use the treadmill.
  • Stay hydrated when you are working out. Drink water before, during and after exercise.
  • Pay attention to your heart rate. Keep it under 140 beats per minute. If your heart rate is getting too high, slow down to bring it under control.
  • Pay attention to your breathing. You should be able to talk during your work out. If you can’t, you are doing too much. Slow down the intensity or stop if necessary.
  • Stop and call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: short of breath, dizzy, bleeding, contractions or headache.
Biography
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.


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