It is an old-wives tale that exercise is prohibited in pregnancy. Regular exercise, in fact, can be of great benefit to your pregnancy in the following ways:
- Decreases back pain and improves posture
- Decreases constipation, bloating, and swelling
- Increases energy level
- Improves mood
- Increases strength and endurance, both of which may help your ability to cope with labor
- May prevent or help treat gestational diabetes
- Improves sleep
You need to be aware of some of the changes your body will undergo during pregnancy, and you may find yourself needing to modify your work-outs. The hormones of pregnancy cause your joints to relax and be more at risk of injury. You will have extra weight in the front of your body that will shift your center of gravity. This may cause stress to your lower back and pelvis, or it may make it difficult to keep your balance, especially at the end of pregnancy. Lastly, this extra weight will make your exercise more challenging at the end of pregnancy.
Walking, swimming, cycling, elliptical, aerobics, and yoga are excellent exercises in pregnancy. If you were a runner before pregnancy, you can often continue running during pregnancy and at some point will likely need to modify your routine. There is not a distinct maximum heart rate in pregnancy. A good rule of thumb on your exertion level is that you should still be able to speak in short sentences during a workout.
You want to avoid activities that involved a high risk of falling or that could lead to abdominal trauma. Some examples include gymnastics, water or snow skiing, boxing, hockey, and horseback riding. In addition, due to oxygenation changes, pregnant women should not scuba dive.
Some other pointers include the following:
- Stay well hydrated
- Try to avoid long periods of time on your back if possible
- Wear a well fitting bra that provides good support
- Avoid rapid, jolting movements, as one equilibrium changes in pregnancy and this can cause dizziness.
Stop exercise if you have the following:
- Vaginal bleeding or leakage or fluid
- Dizziness or feeling faint
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Painful uterine contractions
For a yoga permission letter from Kamm McKenzie, tap here.
For a prenatal fitness class permission letter from Kamm McKenzie, tap here.