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Exercising While Pregnant

Updated: Feb 10, 2022

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Pregnancy is a magical time where you connect with your body and watch it change in ways you have never imagined. It is also a time of fatigue, aches, and pains. With this in mind, it can be challenging to motivate yourself to keep up with your physical activity. There are also myths surrounding if and how to exercise during pregnancy. So, we are here to break down everything you need to know to be a prenatal powerhouse.

Should You Be Exercising During Pregnancy?

Yes! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you are cleared to exercise if your pregnancy is healthy. The only exception may be if you are pregnant with multiples. Pregnant women should be getting about 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise each week. Exercise will not increase your chances of preterm labor, low birth weights, or miscarriage. However, if your medical team tells you to slow down on the exercise or puts you on bed rest for conditions such as cerclage, placenta previa, severe anemia, or if you have started showing signs of preterm labor, heed their advice.

Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant

You probably know the benefits of regular exercise; however, adding in pregnancy adds extra benefits and importance to staying active. Committing to regular exercise during pregnancy helps:

1. Keep your weight in check

2. Build stamina for labor

3. Control blood pressure

4. Alleviate back pain

5. Ease constipation and digestion

6. Decrease the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and preterm labor

7. Strengthens blood vessels, and

8. Promotes faster recovery after labor

What Exercises are Safe for Pregnant Women?

Medical experts recommend low-impact aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise means you are moving large muscle groups in rhythm. You should be slightly increasing your heart rate, breaking a sweat, and feeling just short of breath enough where you can still talk.

If you were an avid exerciser before you were pregnant, your doctor might encourage you to keep up the level of activity you are accustomed to. However, if you notice you are losing weight, you will have to readjust your exercise level or caloric intake. Some examples of popular pregnancy exercises include walking, gardening, swimming, water aerobics, and prenatal yoga. These exercises work your whole body while also preparing your body for labor. Water-based activities are helpful to acclimate to your new center of gravity, thanks to your baby bump. Prenatal yoga helps you improve your flexibility, focus on your breathing, destress, and prepare your pelvis for delivery.

Check out our article on BEST YOGA POSES FOR LABOUR.

What Exercises are Not Safe During Pregnancy?

There are a few rules to follow when exercising during pregnancy.

1. Avoid jerky and high-impact motions. Your joints are more pliable and prone to injury during pregnancy

2. Don't spend long periods laying flat on your back. This position allows your uterus to press on your vena cava, a large vein that runs from your lower body to your heart. When this vein is pinched, it can cut off circulation and create lightheadedness or vertigo.

3. Do not participate in contact sports.

4. Avoid activities such as horseback riding and gymnastics that test your balance and can result in a fall.

5. Opt for prenatal yoga over hot yoga. Becoming overheated is dangerous.

6. Do not work out in high altitudes. If you already live in high altitudes, you will be more acclimated. But a spur-of-the-moment weekend mountain hiking trip can challenge your breathing and deprive you of oxygen.

Signs You Should Stop Exercising

Keep open lines of communication with your medical team. There may come a point in your pregnancy when it is no longer safe to perform physically taxing activities. Some signs you can be watching out for include:

1. Vaginal bleeding

2. Overheating

3. Becoming dehydrated

4. Swelling in your legs

5. Chest pain

6. Feeling dizzy or faint

Exercise of the mind is as essential as the body during pregnancy. Changing body, a growing fetus, hormonal surges can bring in a lot of apprehension of the new phase of life. Hence the regular practice of meditation can prove more helpful during this time. Momitations has a variety of pregnancy-related guided meditations and affirmations. Exercising this mind-muscle will also help during the postpartum phase.


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