By Jane Sandwood
There are plenty of benefits to working out while pregnant. As your figure begins to fill out, you may start to experience stress on your joints and muscles, particularly in areas such as the ankles and lower back. With the right exercise routine, you can work on strengthening muscles in those areas to reduce discomfort throughout the course of your pregnancy. Maintaining an exercise routine can even help to keep your core tight so that it’s easier to push when the time comes.
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Many women, however, worry that the strain of working out during pregnancy may cause undue stress for themselves and their baby as it develops. While traditionally women have been considered frail during pregnancy, in recent years views are changing. Experts at The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend that healthy pregnant women get around 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week, or 30 minutes for five out of seven days. However, even though it is safe for pregnant women to engage in light activity, there are certain precautions that you should take to protect your health and the wellbeing of your child.
Avoid extreme sports
No matter how fun skiing or horseback riding sounds, games and activities that put you at an increased risk of falls should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. An abdominal injury can carry with it a serious danger to an unborn child, especially in later trimesters. It’s better to stick to gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, weight training, and yoga.
While you should avoid intense or excessive movement, it’s also important that you avoid standing still when exercising. During pregnancy, especially in later trimesters, standing motionless can restrict the blood flow throughout your body, potentially depriving your baby of oxygen. Light, continuous movement helps to combat the problem. Pregnant women should also avoid exercising in recumbent positions for the same reason.
Always check with your provider
While exercise is generally safe, not all pregnant women can engage in heightened physical activity. If you have a pre-existing medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes, doctors advise that you avoid exercise while carrying a child. Working out can also be harmful to women with pregnancy-related conditions.
Before packing your gym bags, it’s always a good idea to speak to your primary care physician. They can help you to create a routine that’s safe for your unique situation.
During pregnancy, it’s a good idea to keep up an exercise routine to maintain your health and give your baby a head-start in life. However, it’s crucial that you not push yourself too hard. The next time you head down to the gym, keep these safety tips in mind to make the most out of your routine.