Pregnancy and Exercise

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Feb 08
pregnancy and exercise

Pregnancy and Exercise

Pregnancy stresses the female body in ways that seem super human at times. You feel sluggish from baby weight gain, your body is feeding and supporting two people and you just want to sleep and eat. It might seem like the worst to time to combine pregnancy and exercise but you'll be amazed at the benefits!.

Pregnancy is a time of ​joy and hormonal highs and crazy emotional lows. You feel like you're on a roller coaster ride from beginning to end.

A sure way to feel more of the highs than lows it to embrace pregnancy and exercise together.

Why Exercise During Pregnancy?​

​Exercise during pregnancy is a plus for you and the baby.

Exercise promotes better sleep, higher energy levels, alleviates back and muscle pain and less weight gain.

Pregnancy and Exercise

"Feel good" endorphins are released during exercise. This hormone provides a natural mood boost, pain reliever, increase pleasure and promote stress relief. Good for you and the baby during pregnancy and exercise!

You will also release more fluids that lubricate your joints. This is essential because pregnancy hormones naturally loosens your joints. The additional lubricants lessen the wear and tear on your joints.

Are You a Candidate for Exercise?

Every pregnant woman is a candidate for exercise but before starting any exercise program, check with your physician. A small percentage of pregnancies are high risk and all exercise should be avoided. Discuss any concerns you might have and what exercise plan is safe for you with your doctor.

Pregnancy and Exercise

If you were exercising before pregnancy, continue at the same pace but listen to your body.

The exercises you can do 3 weeks into your pregnancy are far different from the exercises you can safely perform at 30 weeks.

If you are just starting out, good for you! Start slowly and aim for 150 minutes of exercise weekly according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The Importance of Stretching

Stretching is often times ignored but is the most vital part of any exercise program. ​

Pregnancy and Exercise

Warm, flexible muscles and connective tissues ensure your body is prepared for the stress of exercise​. A prepared body is less prone to injury and more receptive to the benefits of exercise.

Stretching becomes important during pregnancy because of the body's natural loosening of ligaments in preparation for childbirth. If the muscles are not stretched they will shorten and tighten

Without proper stretching, the muscles can shorten and tighten causing overcompensation by other muscle groups leading to pain and discomfort.

Neglecting stretching can also lead to spinal misalignment, causing back pain. ​Stretching is an important element in pregnancy and exercise.

Exercise Intensity

Pregnancy and Exercise

After clearance from your doctor, if you are new to exercise, begin slowly and build up.

If you have been on an exercise program for more than 6 months, continue at your normal pace but step back a bit from the intensity.

Getting the heart rate up is great for your cardiovascular system but aim to keep your heart rate moderate.

According to the Mayo Clinic, during moderate activity you begin to break a sweat after 10 minutes, your breath quickens and you can carry on a conversation but cannot sing.

The Most Important Muscle to Engage - Transverse Abdominis​

The trasnverse abdominis is the single most important muscles for posture and support.

In fact, it is your body's natural back support. Once you learn how to properly engage and strengthen these muscles, you can eliminate or alleviate most lower back muscular pain.

The transverse abdominis, also known as the TVA muscle, is the deepest innermost layer of all abdominal muscles.

The TVA is so vital it is engaged almost anytime you move!​

Pegnancy and Exercise

courtesy medical dictionary

Your transverse abdominis is a tricky muscle to target. Click here to learn exactly where it's located and how to work this vital muscle during pregnancy and exercise.

What to Avoid

First and foremost, listen to your body. If an exercise feels awkward or is painful, stop it immediately.

Avoid exercises that require lying on your back. According to FitPregnancy after your first trimester, lying on your back can cause your enlarged uterus and baby to compress your vena cava, the major vessel that returns blood to your heart.

pregnancy and exercise

This reduces the amount of blood your heart has to pump back out, which can lower your blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the placenta, It also can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.

Avoid any exercises that put you at risk for falling such as horseback riding, soccer or basketball.

Don't let your body get overheated. Your core body temperature naturally rises during pregnancy making it easier to get overheated. Avoid exercising in the heat of the day or in a hot environment. Remember to drink plenty of fluids.

Take Aways​

1. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program;

2. Lower the intensity and duration of your exercise;

3. Avoid falling risks, overheating or lying on back;

4. ​Drink plenty of fluids; and

5. The number one tip for pregnancy and exercise LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice.


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