When chosen properly, exercise is not only safe during pregnancy, but it can also help reduce the risk of certain complications and relieve discomfort such as back pain. Every pregnancy is unique, so it is best to ask your gynecologist on your first visit whether exercising during pregnancy has any contraindications for you. Also keep in mind that certain exercises should be avoided in this particular period of your life. So, what is the right sport for pregnant women, how can you practice it safely and what should you avoid?
Can you exercise while pregnant?
For most pregnant women, physical activity at a good pace is safe and healthy for both mother and baby. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you are in good health, exercising during pregnancy will not increase your risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, etc. Of course, as mentioned before, it is your doctor who has to confirm this and give you the green light.
How much physical activity per week?
Healthy pregnant women need a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This form of training allows you to breathe faster and deeper and your heart will beat faster. However, not all cardio exercises are appropriate and you should stick to moderate intensity. This means that you are active enough to sweat and raise your heart rate without simultaneously having trouble speaking normally. Walking, brisk walking, and swimming are great examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities during pregnancy.
You should also know that you should not do the 2.5 hours of physical exertion in one sitting. At best, spread them out over the week to put together a personalized exercise program for pregnant women. For example, do 30 minutes of exercise almost every day and if that seems like too much, divide the 30 minutes into 3 sessions of 10 minutes each.
The benefits of exercising during pregnancy
Many pregnant women wonder: “I’ve never exercised before, why now?” » or « Is it okay to start exercising while pregnant if you’ve never done it before? The answer is yes, it is good for you and for the baby, because the benefits are many. Moderate physical activity during pregnancy can, for example:
- give you extra energy during the day
- strengthen your heart, lungs and blood vessels
- keeping weight gain during pregnancy within healthy limits
- relieve some common discomforts of pregnancy, such as constipation, back pain and swollen ankles and feet.
- manage daily stress and improve sleep
- reduce the risk of a cesarean section
- lower the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- prepare your body for childbirth and optimize your stamina (pregnant sports such as prenatal yoga and Pilates help you control your breathing, advocate meditation and other soothing methods that may be beneficial in reducing pain during childbirth) .
Which sport pregnant?
If you are in good health and you exercised before you became pregnant, you can usually continue your activities in the early months of pregnancy (with a few exceptions) after consulting your doctor. For example, if you used to enjoy jogging or tennis, don’t stop just because you’re carrying a baby. Of course, as your belly grows, you’ll need to adapt certain activities or lighten your workouts.
On the other hand, if you want to start exercising pregnant for the first time, start small. For example, start with 5 minutes of exercise a day and work up to 30 minutes. To be able to exercise “from scratch” pregnant, ask your gynecologist for advice and if he allows, choose something that makes you happy, such as:
- the quick pass to strengthen the muscles without tiring the joints
- the swimming and the aquatic exercises to build muscle, improve your posture and forget about back pain
- the stationary bike is less risky during pregnancy than regular cycling as falling is much less likely even if the belly gets quite big
- the yoga (prenatal) and the Pilates are ideal for relaxing and improving flexibility. Let your instructor know you’re pregnant so he can tell you what poses to avoid (for example, lying flat on your stomach or on your back after the first trimester).
- l’low impact aerobicsthe dancethe gymnastics without jump that are fun and beneficial for body and mind. When practicing such a sport during pregnancy, you should always have at least one foot on the ground.
Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Any activity with a lot of sudden or bouncing movements that could lead to trips and falls, such as horseback riding, skiing, mountain biking, gymnastics, or rollerblading.
- Sports where you can get a punch in the stomach, such as ice hockey, boxing, rugby, football or basketball.
- Any exercise that requires you to lie on your back after the first trimester, such as sit-ups. In this position, your uterus presses against a large vein that returns blood to your heart. Lying flat on your back can lower your blood pressure and restrict blood flow to the baby.
- Activities where you can get out on the water with great power, such as water skiing, surfing or diving.
- Extreme sports, skydiving, diving, high altitude physical activities (above 1800m) and so on.
- Bikram yoga or any other activity that can raise your body temperature too much.
Source used: www.marchofdimes.org