If you are a fitness buff, the last thing you’d want to do is stop this routine when you become pregnant.
Exercising is a great way to not just lost weight or stay fit, but to also keep healthy and you need great health a lot more in pregnancy.
Pregnancy exercises are strongly recommended by health experts as they keep both you and your child healthy during pregnancy and sometimes afterward.
However, the wrong exercise can do more harm than good as it could lead to baby complications to you or the baby and you should avoid them.
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A Few More Facts About Pregnancy Exercises
If you exercised a lot before getting pregnant, your doctor would most likely give you the go-ahead to continue, although he might point out exercises that are more suitable and beneficial during pregnancy as well as those you should avoid.
Here are some benefits you can expect when you exercise:
- Pregnancy exercises have been known to bring relief from regular pregnancy symptoms or discomfort like constipation, backache, insomnia, and bloating.
- Exercising regularly improves your blood circulation which helps keep your baby healthy and active.
- Pregnancy exercises help strengthen your baby.
- These exercises give you more energy and also help you maintain a fit body.
- Pregnancy exercises release serotonin, the feel-good hormone that helps improve your mood.
- Most pregnant women are known to have a bend in their posture, especially as the pregnancy advances. However, carrying out regular daily pregnancy exercises has been known to improve your body posture.
- Pregnancy exercises also tone your muscles and build your stamina for labour. They’ve also been known to shorten labour in some cases.
Related : 60 Pregnancy Facts for First-Time Moms
- Pregnancy exercises have also been known to prevent or improve gestational diabetes in pregnancy.
- You’ll find that exercising regularly also helps you keep your weight in check in a way that’s healthy for you and your baby.
- Exercising in pregnancy helps you sleep better.
- And best of all, these exercises also reduce your risks of gestational diabetes and the possibility of undergoing a cesarean section.
Who Shouldn’t Exercise
You should avoid or stop exercising if you notice any of the following:
1) Stop if you experience difficulties breathing.
In such cases, it might mean you are exercising way more than you should. To correct this, you should check with your doctor to get the right exercise plan for you.
2) You should also stop if you start bleeding or notice fluid leaking. Contact your health care provider immediately.
3) You should cease if you notice your heart palpitating.
4) Stop if you feel lightheaded or faint.
5) You should stop exercising if you notice a reduction in your baby’s movement.
6) Or if you suddenly experience blurred vision or pains in your joints.
7) Stop if you feel extreme fatigue.
Some Pregnancy Exercises You Should Completely Avoid
You should avoid these pregnancy exercises completely:
1) Exercises that require you to lie flat on your back especially as you approach your 16th week.
This is because, as your pregnancy advances, your baby’s weight increases and could press against some blood vessels at this position, disrupting the free flow of blood to your baby.
2) Exercises where you could get hit in the stomach.
3) Avoid all such exercises that are high impact and increase your heart rate.
4) Avoid exercises that would require a height of 2,500m and above as there is a decrease in oxygen at this altitude which could negatively affect your baby.
5) You also want to stay away from the following exercises:
- Horseback riding
- Scuba diving
- Double legs up
- Back bends
- Downhill skiing
- Hot yoga
- Bouncy stretches
6) Avoid pregnancy exercises altogether if you’ve been diagnosed with any of these pregnancy health complications: placenta previa, threatened miscarriage, preeclampsia, weak cervix, or high blood pressure.
Safe Pregnancy Exercises
The following exercises, however, are considered safe for you and your baby
1) Brisk Walking
While most people don’t see walking as exercise, this is one exercise that will benefit every single part of your body.
It gets your heart rate moderately up, which is great for your cardiovascular health. It also tones your muscles and your joints, keeping you healthy.
When not pregnant, brisk walking or just generally walking at a pace that’s comfortable for you helps control your weight, reduces your waistline, and also keeps your cholesterol and sugar levels in check.
As a pregnancy exercise, brisk walking is especially beneficial to your baby as it improves circulation and produces a baby with a better heart rate.
Swimming is yet another pregnancy exercise considered safe. It is also highly beneficial for both you and your baby and can be started as early as your first trimester.
Again, even though it is promoted as one of the safe pregnancy exercises to engage in, you should check with your doctor before starting it.
Also, you should swim for no more than 10- 15 minutes, 3-5 times weekly at the beginning, and gradually increase the time as the pregnancy advances.
3) Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is safe and comes recommended by health experts.
This pregnancy exercise type won’t just improve some pregnancy symptoms you might be experiencing like nausea, back pain, and shortness of breath, it will also help you sleep better, as well as tone those muscles you’ll be needing for childbirth.
Other types of yoga you could also consider include hatha yoga and restorative yoga while staying away from hot yoga.
4) House Chores
House chores might not exactly fit in as an exercise you are used to, however, they will keep you active, which is highly important in pregnancy.
Being sedentary while pregnant will likely shoot up your blood glucose and also make you gain weight among other health complications, which is why any form of exercising whatsoever is important.
Doing house chores will also be beneficial for your baby as you having high blood sugar is bad for her health.
Also, although not proven, women who live a sedentary lifestyle while pregnant have been known to have longer and more painful labour as they likely haven’t toned the muscles needed for labour and easy delivery.
To keep active, you should carry out your regular chores, taking breaks when you get tired or feel your legs start to ache.
How Long Should You Exercise?
It is recommended you aim for 20 -30 minutes of such moderate-form exercises and aim for five or more days to stay fit and healthy.