Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle: Physical activity is essential for maintaining health, during pregnancy as well. Many women who were active before pregnancy wish to continue their training while they are pregnant. Those who were previously physically active often want to become more active in order to have a healthy pregnancy for themselves and their unborn baby.
Exercise Recommendations during Pregnancy
Researches show that there is no risk to exercising during pregnancy, provided that the woman has no contraindications to exercise. On the contrary, physical activity is beneficial for both mother and baby. In addition, several health organizations, such as the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC), the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ), recommends regular physical activity during pregnancy.
To enumerate, Canada’s most recent recommendations for physical activity during pregnancy indicate that to get the most out of physical activity, pregnant women should:
a. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week such as brisk walking, bicycling, water aerobics, etc.
b. Move at least 3 times a week, but preferably every day.
c. Perform pelvic strengthening exercises daily (example: Kegel exercises). For optimal results, it is recommended that you learn the proper exercise technique from your health care professional.
Benefits of Physical Activity during Pregnancy
Specifically, if your doctor gives you the green light, go for it! Therefore, here are some of the benefits if you do at least 150 minutes of medium-intensity physical activity a week:
Furthermore, studies have shown that moderate exercise does not increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight babies, or Caesarean section.
1. Reduces the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
2. Prevents the risk of excessive weight gain during pregnancy
3. Lowers the risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia
4. Make the body strong and fit for labor and delivery
5. Decreases the severity of back pain
6. Alleviates depression
7. Relieves constipation
8. Improves sleep
What are the Best Exercises for a Pregnant Woman?
Exercises like walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and water aerobics are considered safe and healthy activities during pregnancy as long as you do it in moderation. Yoga or to perform gentle stretches, squats, boll and butterfly exercises, etc are beneficial to perform. But are advised to practice with specialist guidance. Pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises such as Kegel exercises should be performed daily to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Do not neglect to perform warm-ups on a daily basis. Make sure you stay well hydrated: If it is hot outside, use caution to avoid heat stroke, since your baby has no way to cool himself. Besides, your energy levels may vary day to day, and as your baby grows and pushes up on your lungs, you may notice a diminished ability to breathe in more air when you exercise. Thus, stop exercising, if you feel:
c. Heart palpitations
e. Shortness of breath
If your body says,
Stop! – stop! Listen to your body, never train until you are exhausted.
What Complications Prevent Pregnant Women from Exercising?
In some situations, exercise is not recommended for pregnant women. In most of these cases, it is also not recommended to remain bedridden, but rather to continue your usual activities. So, here are some of these situations:
3. Severe anemia
4. Preterm delivery
5. Weakened cervix
6. Membrane rupture
7. Delay in fetal growth
8. Multiple Pregnancy of Triplets or More
9. Vaginal bleeding during the 2nd or 3rd trimester
10. Placenta previa after the 28th week of pregnancy
11. Other diseases (uncontrolled type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, lung disease)