Pregnancy is not the time to seek to improve your fitness level or venture into new fitness territory. It is an important time to keep fit and healthy for you and your baby. Exercise relieves stress, keeps muscles strong, and can provide a more restful sleep. According to Dr. Brad Wolk, of Hibisucs OB/GYN, women who stay fit during their pregnancy tend to tolerate labor and delivery better. He adds, exercise has been shown to decrease the risk of developing high blood pressure and gestational diabetes as well. A good warm-up and cool-down is extremely important.
- Cardiovascular Exercise provides the most significant benefits. It is best to keep it low impact with exercises like walking and stationary cycling. Swimming is great workout as it works both arms and legs, and it makes you weightless; a nice change!
- Pilates and Yoga are beneficial to help maintain muscle tone and core strength. An added benefit; they emphasize and bring focus to your breathing. Be sure you find a class or an instructor who understands your current limitations . Dr Wolk suggests avoiding yoga done in hot temperatures for now.
- So what about Weight Training? Dr. Wolk says it is not the best option, and should only be considered if you are already engaged in a resistance program. If you and your doctor determine that you can continue, keep the weights low and do more repetitions. Slow and controlled movements are critical.
Precautions to Consider:
- Do not lie on your back after the first trimester. Pressure from an enlarging uterus may compress a major vein running through your body and potentially restrict blood flow for you or the baby.
- Heart rate max is 140 – but Dr. Wolk points out, for some women 140 may be too high. This is why he stresses listening to your body & consulting with your doctor.
- During pregnancy your center of gravity is shifting. Keep this in mind to keep you and the baby safe as you move.
- Joints and muscles change to due to the mechanical and hormonal changes during pregnancy. These changes put you at greater risk for injury, especially sprains and strains.
- Stay hydrated as the potential to overheat may be greater now.
- If you feel any cramping, or contractions; or if you feel dizzy, winded, or overheated it is important to stop and tend to your symptoms.
Now you are staying healthy feet and keeping fit for two. Consult your doctor to determine the best exercise plan for you. Congratulations!