Your pregnancy test is finally positive! You want to give the best to this tiny, growing being. Should you sit down or rather activate yourself? Is Exercise Really Compatible with Pregnancy? Which ones to favor or avoid? Can they cause miscarriage or premature labor?
Not so long ago, pregnant women were advised to avoid straining and even to move as little as possible. We now know that, on the contrary, exercise is beneficial on many levels for both the expectant mother and her fetus. Whether for the heart, bones and head, exercise is an ally that should not be deprived of. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recalls the many benefits. Here are a few:
- improves sleep;
- helps prevent excessive weight gain;
- is good for morale and general energy level;
- promotes good blood circulation, and thereby prevents varicose veins, hemorrhoids and water retention;
- relieves constipation;
- reduces the intensity of back pain;
- decreases the risk of developing gestational diabetes;
- increases the chances that the body will be strong and fit to face labor.
Sports and exercises to focus on
In general, you can practice all low impact, moderate intensity sports, for example:
- the stationary bike,
- the bicycle,
- cross-country skiing,
- aerobic dance and its variations, making sure there is no impact.
Strength training is also beneficial throughout pregnancy. The muscles of the abdominals need to be strengthened just like those of the pelvic floor. However, pay attention to the diastasis of the great rights. Also, be aware that flexibility is increased during pregnancy thanks to the hormone relaxin. Be careful in your movements.
The exercise ball is a great way to gently work multiple muscles.
Courses are also offered and adapted to pregnant women. You can start them from the first weeks of your pregnancy. Check out the offer in your city or neighborhood. You will likely find prenatal aqua fitness and yoga classes there. Do not hesitate to let the teacher know the stage of your pregnancy and ask him any questions that worry you.
Pursuing your favorite sport
Plus, you can continue to play any other sport you played before you got pregnant. However, you will have to adapt it. Jumps and all forms of impact are to be avoided. If in doubt, talk to your doctor.
Those who were not very active before will benefit from setting up a training routine. However, now is not the time to start a sport that you have never played before. Instead, simply go with exercises to increase muscle tone and improve cardiovascular endurance.
- When you exercise, start slowly, take it gradually, and be sure to cool down after your activity.
- You should be able to speak during the activity! Otherwise, decrease the intensity of your exercise.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Avoid back exercises after your first trimester. This can put too much pressure on the vena cava which will restrict blood flow to the baby.
- Avoid jumping, bouncing or making big jumps. Tissues are softer during pregnancy, which could increase the risk of joint injury.
- Do not train in extreme heat or in a very humid climate.
- If you feel very tired or short of breath, take a break and start again slowly.
How do you know if you are doing too much?
Stop exercising and talk to your doctor or midwife if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- chest pain,
- abdominal pain,
- blurry vision,
- vaginal bleeding,
- reduced fetal movement.
Is there a danger of miscarriage or premature delivery?
By practicing exercises that meet specific criteria, you do not run the risk of miscarriage or giving birth prematurely. At all times, you must ensure:
- that the intensity is moderate;
- that there is little or no impact;
- that the exercise is without or with little risk of falling.
Of course, it is essential to listen to your body and respect your limits. You should not over-train or play a sport that requires you to jump repeatedly. Moving and expending energy won’t harm your baby, but you must remember that inside you, there is a little developing being.
People at risk
For some pregnant women, exercise may be contraindicated. For example, if you suffer from:
- heart problems,
- lung diseases,
- severe diabetes,
- thyroid problem,
- persistent bleeding during the second and third trimester,
- high blood pressure due to pregnancy,
- or if you have had complications from previous deliveries or if you have given birth prematurely.
You should then check with your doctor or midwife to see if incorporating exercise is a problem for you.
Tips for active moms-to-be …
Make sure you never exercise on an empty stomach! Pregnant, your calorie requirement is higher so that you can function well. Remember that exercise puts extra strain on the body. Before you were pregnant, you could push your limits, train without eating properly, but this is no longer the case during pregnancy. Eat well at all times, but especially before and after your workouts.
Be active throughout your pregnancy and it will be easier for you to recover afterwards. Pregnant or not, exercise should be part of your daily life for you and your baby.