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Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Pregnancy might seem like the perfect time to take it easy and relax—particularly thanks to those not so fun and subtle pregnancy discomforts. Back pain, anyone?

But unless you’re experiencing complications throughout your pregnancy, it’s actually a great time to get moving! Exercising while pregnant not only can help reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling but also can help increase energy, improve your overall mood and help individuals get better sleep. Additionally, physical activity can help promote muscle tone, strength and endurance as one prepares for labor and delivery. Plus, there are potential benefits to help prevent, or even treat, gestational diabetes.

Benefits aside, you may have some questions about the overall safety of working out during pregnancy before you lace up your sneakers. Here are five truths about working out while expecting.

  1. IT’S RECOMMENDED. In fact, staying—or becoming—physically active while pregnant is recommended to help maintain and/or improve physical fitness as well as overall health and well-being.
  2. IT’S SAFE. Physical activity will not lead to miscarriage, low birth weight or an early delivery. But, if your pregnancy is considered high-risk, or if you have concerns, consult your medical provider before continuing or starting any exercise routine.
  3. IT’S HEALTHY. Exercising while pregnant is not about losing weight, and that’s OK! Weight gain is normal and to be expected, particularly as your baby grows. So, for now, focus your activity on the mental, physical and spiritual releases as well as getting your body ready for labor and delivery.
  4. IT’S INVIGORATING. Most doctors recommend getting 20- to 30-minutes of light to moderate exercise daily. Keep in mind, though, that there is such a thing as too much exercise. So whatever exercise routine you decide upon, be sure not to overexert yourself and stop if you feel tired, overheated, cramped, lightheaded or dizzy.
  5. IT’S FUN. Choose an exercise you enjoy! And consider finding an exercise partner for added motivation, encouragement and conversation.

Remember, not all exercises are recommended during pregnancy. While the baby is protected by your body, it is important to be cautious when exercising. Avoid high-impact activities that could result in a fall, cause impact to your abdominal area, require excessive jumping, hopping, skipping or bouncing or involve twisting while standing. And while you are considering what exercises you can do, do not discount the benefits of low-impact activities, such as walking or prenatal yoga.

Ready to work out? Here are a few tips before you get started:

  • Wear comfortable clothes, well-fitted shoes and a supportive bra
  • Exercise on a flat, level surface
  • Drink plenty of water, and consume enough healthy calories. Again, weight loss is not the goal!
  • Wait at least an hour after eating before you exercise
  • If exercising outdoors, opt for cooler times of the day (i.e. the morning hours) and avoid the hottest peaks of the day—or consider moving your workout indoors to an air-conditioned space.

While exercising during pregnancy can have many mental and physical benefits, always be sure to watch for warning signs, including vaginal bleeding or fluid leaking from your vagina, unusual pain or shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, chest pain or a racing heartbeat, contractions or muscle cramps. If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately stop your exercise routine and contact your medical provider.

Have additional questions? The team at the Cosgrove Maternity Center at Southwest General are here to help. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.