When you are pregnant, your body goes through a tremendous amount of changes. You will gain weight and retain water. You will be eating more than you are used to. You may experience back pain, leg and feet swelling, stretch marks, cramps, constipation, and yes, your feet may get irreversibly bigger. Sounds wonderful right? Well, there are some things that you can do to help your body weather the storm and one of these is exercising. According to the American Pregnancy Association, exercise can alleviate back pain by strengthening the back muscles, improving circulation, preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles. Exercising during pregnancy is like preparing for a marathon. You practice, practice, practice for months at a time and it’s all over in a day. The good news is that the more you are prepared for the day, the smoother it will go. Exercise helps to strengthen and stretch your muscles and also helps to build stamina and endurance, which you will need for those many hours of labor or to recuperate from abdominal incisions. Exercise can improve your mood, give you more energy, and help you sleep better.
Many women have questions about the proper ways to exercise while they are pregnant and what they need to do to prepare. This lesson is focusing on the preparation process necessary for you to begin an exercise regimen.
First off, according to the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, you need to take caution if you are experiencing anemia, thyroid disease, diabetes, seizure disorders such as epilepsy, irregular heartbeat, history of preterm labor, heart disease, infectious diseases such as Hepatitis, severe high blood pressure, lung disease, history of multiple miscarriages, uterine bleeding, placenta previa, carrying multiple babies, or being placed on bed rest. Of course, consult with your prenatal care provider before beginning any exercise regimen regardless of whether you are experiencing anything listed above or not.
Exercise regimens are based on the stage of pregnancy you are in. For instance, contrary to what you might think, you need to take things slower and gentler during the first trimester, as this is the riskiest time for miscarriages. After the first trimester, you should avoid floor exercises that involve you laying on your back. The weight of the baby can cut off blood circulation and this is one of the reasons they tell you to sleep on your left side when you are pregnant. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should plan to start of exercising five minutes per day and increasing you daily routine by 5 minutes each week until you reach 30 minutes a day. Walking, swimming, cycling, and aerobics exercises are the best types during pregnancy. Running, strength training, and racquet sports are okay for those who were doing them awhile before pregnancy. Obviously, you should avoid contact sports, scuba diving, water and snow skiing, gymnastics, and horseback riding.
Maintaining a healthy exercise regimen can help you to heal better after the birth, as well as assist you with losing the baby weight. Again, consult with your care provider first. Stay tuned for more lessons!