You may think pregnancy is a perfect time to sit back, relax and eat well. But that’s not enough for a healthy pregnancy. Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labor and get back into shape after the birth.
Benefits of Exercise:
You can’t imagine how healthy exercise can keep you during pregnancy. It can boost your mood and energy levels, prevent excess weight gain, increase stamina and muscle strength, ease backache, prevent gestational diabetes and build more stamina needed for labour and delivery.
Exercise is Not for You if:
Sometimes exercise during pregnancy is strictly forbidden to protect your health. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advises against exercise if you have any of these conditions while pregnant-
- Low placenta
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy related high blood pressure
- Threatened or recurrent miscarriage
- A history of early labour
- Previous premature birth
- Weak cervix
- Lung disease
- Multiple pregnancy
- Vaginal bleeding
Exercises That are Safe:
If you are not used to exercise, you should start with slow and easy exercises. Some exercises are always safe during pregnancy:-
The safest and one of the best cardiovascular exercises for pregnant women is walking. It is safe to continue throughout all nine months of pregnancy and the easiest way to start if you are not accustomed to exercise.
Swimming improves circulation, increases muscle tone and strength. It helps to keep your weight in a healthy range by burning calories and also gives you a good sleep.
Yoga can be an ideal way to stay in shape during your pregnancy. It strengthens muscles, improves circulation and helps you breathe deeply and relax.
Low Impact Aerobics:
When you choose exercises that are low impact- meaning no jumping, kicks, leaps and fast running, you can continue these throughout your pregnancy as they are safe. Low impact aerobics strengthens your heart and lungs and also minimize stress.
You can also do moderate jogging, dancing, stretching, weight training and several other exercises in a careful and disciplined manner to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Exercises to Be Avoided:
Some activities will prove uncomfortable or harmful for you during pregnancy. You must avoid exercises which involve-
- Lying on your stomach
- Holding your breath
- Heavy weight training
- High impact sports like ice hockey, soccer, basketball, scuba diving etc.
- Waist twisting movement
- Jumping, hopping and running
Regular exercises can help you with the physical changes of pregnancy but remember, you shouldn’t attempt anything without consulting your doctor for the safety of yourself and the baby inside you.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute