Everything about how to stay fit during your pregnancy. Read our article to get useful tips from mothers who had a fit pregnancy.
For people who work hard at staying fit and healthy or are heavily involved in a sport, pregnancy can seem like an enforced period of rest. Such people are often apprehensive about keeping up workout or training programs. Studies are indicating, however, that they shouldn’t be too concerned.
Women who are physically fit before and during pregnancy have been proven to develop fewer complications, gain less weight and give birth to healthier babies. On the other hand, pregnancy does demand that women who are trying to keep active understand the limitations and safety precautions needed to ensure fetal health.
Be Active in Your Life
Rosie Perry, a mother of two from Phoenix, Arizona., was very concerned about keeping up her active lifestyle during her first pregnancy. “During the first pregnancy I was much more concerned about the baby,” says Perry. “During the second pregnancy, I had much greater awareness of how my increased fitness was helping my baby, and also I had much greater confidence in my body’s ability to get through the pregnancy and handle what I was doing.”
Perry made sure to remain hydrated and listened to her body during aerobics, but other than that, she considered keeping up with her various exercise activities to be essential to her physical and emotional well-being.
Martin Graves is a pre and postnatal strength and conditioning coach. He believes research has now proven that exercise during pregnancy is beneficial as long as some basic precautions are taken and the workouts are not taken to the extreme.
“Many clinical studies have been done on exercise and pregnancy in humans,” says Graves. “In general, these studies have been positive. Findings have included easier delivery, no apparent fetal defects and normal birth weight. The negative effects of excessive exercise during pregnancy, shown in animal studies, may be balanced by positive nutritional and health practices. ”
Keeping a Balance
Graves warns that studies have shown that excessive exercise could be harmful and compromise fetal well-being. He also strongly suggests that no pregnant woman begin an exercise program without a medical evaluation.
“Exercise should consist of moderate intensity physical activity,” says Graves. “Appropriate activities include walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics and jogging. Intensity of exercise should be moderate, which means your heart rate should be below 150 beats per minute. Exercise sessions should be restricted to less than 30 minutes, three times per week. In general, pregnancy calls for moderate, sensible levels of exercise. High intensity, competitive exercise may do damage to the fetus as well as increase the risk of injury to the mother.”
Take a look at our article about pedaling during pregnancy : Pedaling Through Pregnancy – The Benefits of Biking While Expecting
Graves also says it’s important for the breasts to be supported during exercise. “During running, the movement of unsupported breasts against the chest creates between 50 to 100 pounds of force,” he says. “Prolonged periods of training without adequate breast support could result in inflamed nipples and eventually lead to sagging breast tissue.”
Dr. Luis C., an orthopedics and sports medicine specialist, says women should not be anxious about exercise during pregnancy as long as they use common sense and listen to their bodies. It’s especially important that they do not allow themselves to become overheated.
“To prevent overheating, women should take frequent breaks, drink plenty of fluids and, most importantly, avoid running in extremely hot weather,” says Dr. Luis. Also, it’s important not to exercise to the point of exhaustion, as this could jeopardize the amount of oxygen being delivered to the fetus, according to Dr. Luis.
Experts believe there is some evidence that an elevated maternal temperature of higher than 102 degrees F for even brief periods of time can lead to fetal distress with any type of fitness routine, so it’s important that expectant mothers monitor their temperatures faithfully during exercise. This is one of the reasons swimming is such a good sport for moms-to-be: It’s low impact and keeps your body temperature down.
Another risk many women don’t take into consideration is the change in their center of gravity, which increases the risk of falling while running, jogging or walking. This is one reason why sports, such as skiing and horseback riding, should be avoided, even by experts.
“Any contact sports or other activities with higher injury potential should be avoided during pregnancy,” says Dr. Luis. “Even the most expert skier is at potential risk for injury, as often these injuries occur secondary to other, usually more careless, skiers or snowboarders on the slopes.”
Setting Your Workout
Rosa Mason, a physical therapist in Centennial, Colorado, says most activities your body is used to can be continued throughout your pregnancy, but there are a few you should watch out for. “High-impact activities such as jumping and high-risk activities such as rollerblading and/or skiing are not recommended,” she says. “Usually high-level athletes or people who are experienced in their sport can get away with more, especially in the first trimester, but heavy weight lifting is a definite no-no.”
Your active lifestyle doesn’t have to stop while you’re pregnant. Working out and keeping physically fit is more important than ever now that your lifestyle is undergoing such an amazing change. Both you and your baby can benefit from safe and enjoyable activity.
Our articles are prepared to give advice. You should always consult your doctor first for exact information.
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons.