The first thing you should know about exercising when you’re pregnant is that you should do it! Unless you’re experiencing complications, pregnancy is not a time, contrary to what you may think, to take it easy and forgo regular exercise. Even though you may feel lazy and tired as your baby and belly begin to grow, exercise is important for your baby and your body.
However, you may need to make a few modifications to your normal workout routine. If you don’t have a regular workout routine, it’s a good idea to ease into one during your pregnancy. Exercise provides unique benefits for pregnant women. Before you start exercising during your pregnancy, though, it’s important to discuss your plans with OB/GYN Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich in Boise, Idaho, so that he can give you thumbs up.
Benefits of exercise during pregnancy
There are many benefits to exercising during your pregnancy, but weight loss is not one of them. Pregnancy is not a time to be overly concerned with your weight and definitely not a time to be thinking of dropping some pounds. Benefits include:
- Increases energy
- Improves mood
- May help reduce your risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean section
- Helps reduce backaches
- Eases constipation
- Helps you sleep better
- Increases strength and preserves muscle tone
- Helps you lose the baby weight after you give birth
Exercise guidelines during pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise for pregnant women. Moderate intensity means that you get your heart rate up and work up a sweat, but can still have a conversation.
Good exercise options for pregnant women include brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, modified yoga, stationary biking, and dancing. If you were a runner before getting pregnant, check with Dr. Weyhrich to see if you can continue with it.
If you didn’t exercise before pregnancy, you should start slowly and build up. For example, start with walking five or 10 minutes a day and build up to 30 minutes. If you were exercising before getting pregnant, you could most likely continue with your routine, unless it involves bouncing, jarring movements, or risk of abdominal impact. Downhill skiing, gymnastics, mountain biking, and horseback riding are not recommended.
Safety tips for exercising while pregnant
It probably isn’t news to you, but your body is going through a lot of changes during your 40 weeks of pregnancy. Your joints and ligaments become more relaxed, making them more susceptible to strains, pulls, and injury. Your balance may be impaired with your growing belly, so you will need to take care not to fall. And the increased pressure on your uterus and diaphragm make catching your breath more challenging. You may need to take frequent rests and take your exercise routine down a notch.
Other tips for safe exercise during pregnancy include:
- Don’t get overheated because temperatures over 102.6 F can cause problems for your fetus
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Wear comfortable clothing and a supportive bra
- Stop if you feel dizzy, pain in your back or pelvis, or have heart palpitations
Most importantly, don’t push yourself. If you feel tired or sick, stop. Call or make an appointment online with Dr. Weyhrich to determine a healthy exercise routine for you during your pregnancy.