A question many women ask is whether it’s safe to exercise during pregnancy. For the expecting mothers this is a valid concern on the safety of the unborn bundle of joy. Some fear that exercise might cause a miscarriage. This is however not true as the opposite could be harmful both to the mother and her unborn baby.
Complications due to inactivity
Inactivity can cause complications for both the mother and the fetus. Pregnancy has its own complications that can also be aggravated by lack of exercise. Some of the common complications are:
- Severe Nausea and Vomiting
- Gestational diabetes
- Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure
- Decline of baby’s activity level
- False labor (Braxton-Hicks contractions)
- Too much weight gain
- Heartburn and digestion problems
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. This will ensure that mommy and baby are fit and comfortable through the nine months they are together.
If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. As an expectant mother, you don’t have to involve in rigorous exercises. Simple exercises like walking can help relax your muscles in case of false labor. It’s also important for general fitness.
It is important for a mother to manage their weight during pregnancy to avoid Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure. This may cause other related complications like stress on the kidneys, which results in increased amounts of protein in the woman’s urine. Other signs of preeclampsia may include headaches, visual problems, rapid weight gain and swelling (edema) of the hands and face.
Other simple exercises are swimming, brisk walking, indoor stationary cycling, step or elliptical machines and low-impact aerobics with the help of a certified aerobics instructor. Lifting reasonable weights may also help prepare your body for labor and delivery. These activities have little risk of injury, benefit your entire body, and can be continued until birth.
When to avoid workouts
Don’t try to exercise at your former level, even though you had been active before pregnancy. Instead, do what’s most comfortable for you presently.
Some special cases are heart disease that significantly affects the way blood circulates in your body. Abnormally high blood pressure or lung disease also affects blood flow. Examples of such conditions are severe asthma or chronic bronchitis -inflammation of the bronchial tubes and multiple pregnancy- twins or triplets. Some high risk pregnancies may require total bed rest as may be recommended by an obstetrician.
How to workout during pregnancy
- Check with your healthcare provider first
- Eat well to help nourish and strengthen your body.
- Avoid dangerous sports
- Warm up
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t lie flat on your back
- Do not overdo it
- Avoid high temperatures
- Cool down
- Make it a habit
Congratulations on your expected baby. Keep fit and healthy for the baby and yourself.