Exercise during pregnancy can have numerous benefits for both the mother and the developing baby. It can help to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts such as back pain and fatigue, as well as improve overall mood and energy levels. However, it’s important for expecting mothers to be mindful of their physical limitations and to consult with their healthcare provider before beginning or continuing an exercise routine during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week for healthy pregnant women. This can include activities such as brisk walking, swimming, and cycling. It’s also important for expecting mothers to incorporate strength training exercises at least twice a week to maintain muscle tone and improve overall body strength and stability.
It’s important for expecting mothers to listen to their bodies and avoid activities that may cause discomfort or injury. High-impact exercises such as running or jumping should be avoided, as well as exercises that involve a risk of falling or abdominal trauma. Additionally, activities that involve holding your breath, such as scuba diving, should also be avoided.
Hot yoga and other forms of hot exercise should also be avoided during pregnancy as it can increase the risk of overheating and dehydration. Additionally, activities that involve lying flat on your back should be avoided after the first trimester as it can decrease blood flow to the baby.
Pregnant women should also be mindful of their heart rate during exercise. The ACOG recommends that expecting mothers keep their heart rate below 140 beats per minute during exercise. This can be monitored using a heart rate monitor or by taking your pulse manually.
It’s important for expecting mothers to stay properly hydrated during exercise. Drinking water before, during, and after exercise can help to prevent dehydration and keep the body properly hydrated. Additionally, it’s important to wear proper exercise clothing and shoes to provide support and comfort during physical activity.
For expecting mothers who have never exercised before or have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s especially important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning an exercise routine. The healthcare provider can provide guidance on safe and appropriate exercises, as well as monitor any potential risks or complications.
Expecting mothers who have a high-risk pregnancy or any complications, such as placenta previa or pre-term labor, may have to limit their physical activity or avoid certain exercises entirely. In these cases, it’s important to follow the recommendations of the healthcare provider to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby.
It’s important to be aware of any warning signs during exercise such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or vaginal bleeding. These symptoms may indicate a problem and should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately.
It’s also important for expecting mothers to be mindful of their overall physical activity throughout the day, not just during formal exercise. Simple activities such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for a walk during lunch can help to increase physical activity and improve overall health.
Overall, exercise during pregnancy can be beneficial for both the mother and the developing baby. However, it’s important for expecting mothers to be mindful of their physical limitations, stay properly hydrated and consult with their healthcare provider before beginning or continuing an exercise routine during pregnancy.
Expecting mothers should also be mindful of their body’s changing needs and adjust their exercise routine accordingly. As the pregnancy progresses, it’s important to adjust the intensity and frequency of exercise to maintain the overall health and safety of both the mother and the baby.