Pregnancy is a wonderful time in every woman’s lifetime but when we find out that we are expecting a baby our priorities are changing, so as one to workout and be the leanest, fittest version of ourselves.
This is completely normal but one thing shouldn’t change too much and that is working out.
Working out is perfectly fine to do if you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy.
Lots of women today are exercising during their pregnancy because they feel better and more in control of their bodies.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your baby as well.
Some of them are below.
- Preparing you for childbirth – This is one of the hardest things your body will have to endure and increased stamina will be beneficial in handling the birth like a pro.
- Prevention of excessive weight gain – You’ll burn the calories you are eating and will be much easier to control your weight gain.
- Less chance for intervention during labour and birth.
- Less chance to develop gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
- Improving your circulation – That means fewer problems with varicose veins, haemorrhoids and constipation, less swelling and leg cramps.
- Improved mobility and less back pain.
- Improved sleep.
- Allows faster recovery after birth and faster return to your pre-pregnancy weight
If you have any medical conditions like chronic hypertension, active thyroid or pulmonary disease, check with your midwife or doctor is it still fine to do workouts.
Also, if you develop some medical conditions during your pregnancy like incompetent cervix, pregnancy-induced hypertension, any kind of bleeding during your pregnancy or premature rupture of membranes please check with your midwife or doctor should you work out or not.
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How to workout during pregnancy?
Most workouts routines that you were following before pregnancy you can still continue to do. However, pregnancy is not the best time for drastically improving your fitness.
It is more about maintaining a basic level of fitness to feel more comfortable during your pregnancy and to help you control your weight gain easier.
You should adjust your programs as your pregnancy progresses, and if you feel fine and you don’t have any medical issues in your pregnancy, you can continue to workout until your due date.
Here are some tips to help you work out safely but effective during your pregnancy.
- Don’t exercise until exhaustion. Remember that you have less oxygen during pregnancy and you get tired easily so when you feel tired stop and take a break. On 1-10 level your exercises during pregnancy should be around level 5-6. Don’t overdo it!
- Stay hydrated. This is even more important during pregnancy. Drink water before, during and after a workout.
- Don’t workout during the heat. Avoid doing exercises during extreme heat. Stay cool, drink plenty of water and layer down your clothes.
- Don’t forget to do warm-up and cool down. This will help in preventing injuries.
- Do workouts 3-4 times a week. Be consistent. It’s better to have a few shorter workouts than one or two very intensive.
- Don’t exercise laying on you back. After first trimester it is not recommended to lay flat on your back because if the extra pressure that your baby and extra weight is applied to the main vein that is bringing blood to your heart. If you start to get dizzy or lightheaded, roll on your left side for a minute before trying to get up.
- Eat plenty of healthy and nourishing food. In pregnancy, your body needs around 300-500 extra calories per day. Try to make sure you are getting them from healthy sources of food.
- Listen to your body. If you feel tired, take a break. Or if you can’t keep it like before, don’t push yourself. Take it easy and be consistent.
What workouts can I do during pregnancy?
You can continue to do the same workouts that you did before pregnancy but how your pregnancy progresses you’ll have to adjust it.
If you did strength training and were lifting heavy weights you can continue the same during your pregnancy. You don’t want to challenge yourself more during pregnancy so don’t increase your weight.
The same goes for most activities. If you were running before you can do it in pregnancy too, just don’t start preparing yourself for a marathon.
During pregnancy, most exercises are fine to do but always beware of hormone relaxin that is in your body at that time.
It makes your joints more flexible and relaxed, and that means they are more prone to the injury too. Don’t overdo and don’t overstretch.
Don’t skip your warmup, and don’t do too much of jumping movements as this can put more pressure on your joints and pelvic floor causing injuries and weaknesses of your pelvic floor muscles and also causing the Diastasis Recti.
Choose activities you love to do like strength training, pilates or yoga, swimming or jogging etc. Do whatever you enjoy.
Can you start working out in pregnancy even if you never worked out before?
There is no better time to start being active and healthy than pregnancy. You can and should start exercising in pregnancy for your own comfort and health benefits.
The recommendations not to start working out during pregnancy are outdated and today, it is even encouraged to start doing some activity during pregnancy.
There are some rules if you are just starting:
- Start slowly and don’t push yourself too hard
- If you have never run before, don’t start during pregnancy. Choose power walks instead
- If you start strength training don’t lift too heavyweights, 3-8 kg should be enough for great results and not too much challenge during pregnancy
- Try swimming, yoga or pilates that are easy enough during pregnancy and some even have special pregnancy classes so check in your community or online
- Don’t jump or do any plyometric exercises because of possible injuries and effect jumping has on your joints and pelvic floor muscles and core.
Can you work on your core during pregnancy?
You can continue to do core workouts during your first trimester.
In second and third trimester avoid exercises on the back like crunches.
Be careful with exercises on all four or plank position workouts. This can put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles and cause separation.
If you notice any kind of dooming, bulging similar, stop doing those kinds of exercises.
Exercising during pregnancy is a great way of staying healthy and fit and can be really beneficial in improving your quality of life during pregnancy.
Listen to your body and do what works best for you.