Fitness & Exercise

Should A Pregnant Woman Exercise?

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but through the journey expectant mothers worry about the physical change having a child will do to their body. It is also known that during pregnancy, a woman should add about 10-15kg.

So, does the fact that a woman is pregnant, stop her from being physically active make her avoid exercise at all cost? The answer is no.

It is advisable to keep fit by exercising during this phase, and these are some ways physical activity can help when pregnant:

  • Improves posture
  • Prevents gestational diabetes
  • Boosts mood
  • Better body image
  • Eliminates fatigue, constipation, bloating and discomfort
  • Better Sleep
  • Reduces excess weight gain
  • Builds stamina for labor
  • Helps a woman get back to pre-pregnancy shape faster

The benefits are so many. So if you’re pregnant or have any friend that is expecting a baby, you need to encourage them to exercise, it won’t hurt them or their babies.

But as with most things in pregnancy, there are rules and best practices to follow.

Ground Rules to consider when exercising during pregnancy

1. Check first with your health care provider, even if you are an active person or not.

Getting a Go Signal from your Health Care Provider is very important, as you would be monitored on what to do and what not to do. In some cases, the doctor advises women with pre-eclampsia, vaginal bleeding, placenta problems, heart and lung diseases, asthma and severe anemia not to exercise.

2. Skip Dangerous Sports.

Dangerous Sports as the name goes are harmful to the mother and the child which include sports that involve contact and collision e.g. boxing, squash, football, kickboxing, judo, etc.

Also, Scuba diving isn’t safe during pregnancy as it may cause decompression sickness.

Making sudden hasty movement during exercise is not advised as not to throw the mother on child off balance.

3. Wear the right and comfortable clothes.

Wearing the right and comfortable clothes for any activity is key as to prevent accidents or incidents as the safety of a child and mother is very important during pregnancy. Clothes that are too tight or too loose should be avoided to allow free movement of the body.

4. Hydrate properly.

Drinking lots of water during pregnancy helps dilute the urine and reduces the risk of infection, also it is very important to stay hydrated especially during the last trimester as dehydration can lead to early contractions causing preterm labor.

5. Don’t overdo your exercise once you feel tired stop immediately.

When tired or dizzy exercise should be stopped immediately so that it will not lead to fainting spells and premature labor. When exercising, it is important to cool down and take your time to stand up slowly from the ground so that you won’t lose balance.

Let’s go to exercise that you can carry out safely in pregnancy.

What kinds of exercises are safe during pregnancy?

1. Low impact Aerobics or Group Dancing

This is great for heart and lungs and also it improves muscle strength.  Low impact aerobics or group dance is normally done with some music, making endorphins flow, keeping the mother and child happy.

2. Swimming

One of the best ways to stay fit during pregnancy is staying in the pool. It makes you lighter and agile. The baby floats with you as you swim and in the process of swimming you loosen your joints and ligaments.

3. Cycling on a Stationary Bike

Pedaling at your pace without any risk of falling or putting pressure on your knee and ankle. This is a low impact exercise that helps tones gluteal muscles and stabilizing your abdominals. This is very convenient as it can easily be done in the comfort of your home. You can learn more about stationary bikes and the recumbent bikes here.

4. Jogging

Overdoing an exercise is something to be avoided especially during pregnancy. Jogging might be suitable for experienced runners. But then should only be done with the permission of your health care provider.

5. Walking

Walking is a very easy exercise as it can fit into anyone’s busy schedule. It helps activate your core and it utilizes all the muscles in the upper body and calf. It also requires no equipment and can be done until the day of delivery. The only thing that would be spent on walking is good walking shoes.

6. Weight Lifting

Heavyweights are frowned at that’s why Lightweights are the most preferred during pregnancy as it tones the muscles. The goal of lightweight is for toning muscles while the goal for heavyweight will be to bulk up muscles. An isometric position when lifting weights is the best to avoid heavy and strenuous routines best to ask the advice of your healthcare provider when

7. Yoga

Prenatal yoga is ideal for expectant moms as it encourages flexibility, deep breathing, and focus. Finding a yoga class tailored for pregnant women is safe to prevent potential blood pressure issues that yoga poses with moves like the handstand and headstand.

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