When you’re pregnant the last thing you are thinking about is working out. However pre-natal exercise not only helps reduce the amount of weight you gain during pregnancy but helps alleviate some of the symptoms you suffer during it. And let’s face it, if you’re in your first trimester you may be willing to do just about anything to feel better!
In general, we know that exercising gives you more energy. When you’re pregnant you may be feeling more tired than usual and even a little moody. Working out will help give you that extra energy and will also help with any mood swings and trouble sleeping.
Exercise also helps strengthen your muscles and improves circulation. Stronger core muscles help prevent back pain while better circulation “helps with constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, and swelling of the ankles and feet.”1
Bonus: Working out can actually help prepare you for childbirth! “Some studies suggest that the fitness level of the mother can result in a shorter labor, fewer medical interventions, and less exhaustion during labor.”2
In fact, in a study “those who had continued training throughout their pregnancy experienced active labor for 4 hours and 24 minutes compared with 6 hours and 2 minutes for those who’d quit training early on.”1
Before working out make sure to consult your doctor especially if you are considered a high-risk pregnancy, or at risk for pre-term labor.
Some things to consider BEFORE working out:
“When you exercise, the blood flow shifts away from your internal organs (including your uterus) to give your muscles, lungs and heart more oxygen. If you exercise too strenuously, you can restrict oxygen from your uterus. Make sure to stick within a recommended heart rate level to ensure that your baby is getting the oxygen he/she needs.”1
You may be off balances during your pregnancy making falls more likely. Eliminate your risks of falling and stick to low impact workouts or even better, go swimming!
Your body temperature should not go above 101°F. “Exercise causes an increase in your body temperature, which can affect the baby’s development. Use caution when exercising in hot weather and always make sure that you’re getting plenty of fluids when exercising.”1
Prenatal exercise is a great way to help alleviate pregnancy symptoms and take some stress out of the 9 months of pregnancy. If you can, make time to exercise as it is proven beneficial for mothers-to-be.
As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning or changing your exercise program while pregnant.