There are several benefits to exercise during pregnancy. Regular exercise keeps you in shape for the physical demands of labor and childbirth. Staying in shape throughout pregnancy will help you return to your pre pregnancy weight easier and faster too. If you were active before you got pregnant, check with your doctor to be sure your routine is safe. If you weren’t active, check with your doctor or midwife before starting any exercise routine.
Walking and swimming are excellent sources of exercise for pregnant women. They are low impact and there is little risk of injury to you or your baby. Swimming is great in the third trimester because the natural buoyancy you experience in the water can help relieve pressure. If you enjoyed jogging or weight lifting prior to becoming pregnant, it is likely you will be able to continue these activities, but ask your doctor first.
Yoga is an excellent choice for pregnancy. The focus placed on breathing and relaxation is good for your body and mind, both during pregnancy and childbirth. Yoga is suitable for people of all fitness levels. If you have practiced before you became pregnant, you can safely continue. If you are new to exercise, yoga is a good, low impact choice.
Some yoga positions are modified during pregnancy, especially after the first trimester. Look for special classes designed for pregnant women. Many studios offer these. If you can’t find a class, or prefer to practice on your own, look for a prenatal yoga DVD. You can find these on the internet and in maternity stores. The workout on these DVDs is specifically designed for pregnancy and all the poses are modified and considered safe.
* Never let your heart rate go above 140 beats per minute. You can monitor this with an inexpensive heart rate monitor that can be found in any sporting goods store. For a more low tech method, try talking while exercising. You should be able to speak comfortably without being out of breath. * Stay hydrated during exercise. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. *Avoid becoming overheated. If you find yourself overheating, slow down or stop until you cool down. Take it easy, especially as your pregnancy progresses. *Avoid any exercise that could be dangerous to your growing baby. Horseback riding, skiing or other activities that could cause injury should be avoided. *If you feel dizzy, short of breath, start having contractions or feel faint, stop immediately. Contact your doctor if these symptoms continue after exercise has stopped.
By taking the proper precautions, you can enjoy exercise througout your pregnancy. With good planning and a little common sense, you can stay in shape safely.