There are so many changes that occur during pregnancy to a woman’s body that are physiological, and emotional. Basically, every system in the body changes.
If you have been following a regular exercise program prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to maintain that program to some degree throughout your pregnancy. The most important thing is to discuss your goals with your health care provider and then find an exercise specialist to set up the right routine for you.
Exercise during pregnancy: The green light
Exercise during pregnancy does not increase the risk of miscarriage in a low risk pregnancy. However, there are some considerations and concerns that your doctor may moderate or minimize exercise during pregnancy. Some of these are (but are not limited to):
Rupture of membranes
Some heart or lung issues
Why should I exercise during pregnancy?
During pregnancy exercise can:
Help with your mood and energy levels
Help prevent excessive weight gain
Promote better sleep
Reduce muscle aches
Reduce bloating, swelling and constipation
What exercise should I do?
A combination of cardiovascular and resistance training! During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin prepares your ligaments and joints for delivery. The looseness of your joints can be a source of pain. Furthermore, the muscles in your body have to work harder to decrease the risk of injury to these joints. This results in fatigue in many muscles which can also lead to pain. There are many misconceptions around strength training suggesting that women should only participate in body weight exercises such as yoga and pilates. Yoga and Pilates has been shown to help boost mood and relaxation, but are not associated with the others benefits in the list above. In 2011, the University of Georgia found that a low to moderate intensity strength training program was safe even for novices. A study carried out by experts from Camilo José Cela University (UCJC), published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA), defines the physical exercise patterns during pregnancy have shown major physiological benefits for both mother and baby. According to the lead author, the percentages who meet the recommendations for exercise is very low. This is mostly due to uncertainty to what type of exercise should be recommended and which ones are to be avoided.
As for cardiovascular activity, women can choose walking, running, swimming, biking, hiking – basically whatever you like to do and what makes you feel comfortable. Many elite runners will run until their 3rd trimester and switch to walking because of discomfort, but each woman is different! The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week. The take home message is to not be afraid of exercise if you have been given the green light to do so. Keeping yourself fit and strong will also help baby!
How can we help?
We know exercise. Whether you are a woman who has not been active or an elite athlete, we can help provide you with exercise guidance during the most amazing transformation your body will go through in your life!
Stay tuned for our blog specifically about prenatal and postnatal exercises!
Some related information on pregnancy you should check out:
Nutrition in pregnancy: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Nutrition-During-Pregnancy
Back pain in pregnancy: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Back-Pain-During-Pregnancy