Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery.
Are there certain conditions that make exercise during pregnancy unsafe?
- Certain types of heart and lung diseases
- Cervical insufficiency A condition in which the cervix is unable to hold a pregnancy in the second trimester
- Post Cerclage: A procedure in which the cervical opening is closed with stitches to prevent or delay preterm birth.
- Being pregnant with twins or triplets (or more) with risk factors for preterm labor
- Placenta previa after 26 weeks of pregnancy (A condition in which the placenta covers the opening of the uterus)
- Preterm labor (before 37 weeks pregnancy) or ruptured membranes (your water has broken) during this pregnancy regular physical activity
- Preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
- Severe anaemia
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
- Reduces back pain
- Relieves constipation
- May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes ( Diabetes that starts during pregnancy), preeclampsia (high blood pressure and its effects on pregnancy), and cesarean delivery
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
How much should I exercise during pregnancy?
Ideally, pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking 30 mins every day 5 days a week) every week.
Aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating but you still can talk normally.
What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and urinating only small amounts or having urine that is dark yellow.
- Wear a sports bra that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts. Later in pregnancy, a belly support belt may reduce discomfort while walking or running.
- Avoid becoming overheated, especially in the first trimester. Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothing, and exercise in a temperature-controlled room. Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid.
- Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. These positions may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time.
What are some safe exercises I can do during pregnancy?
- Walking—Brisk walking gives a total body workout and is easy on the joints and muscles.
- Swimming and water workouts—Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain.
- Stationary bicycling—Because your growing belly can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls, riding a standard bicycle during pregnancy can be risky. Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice.
- Modified yoga and modified Pilates—Yoga reduces stress, improves flexibility, and encourages stretching and focused breathing. There are prenatal yoga and Pilates classes designed for pregnant women. These classes often teach modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance. You also should avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods.
What are the warning signs that I should stop exercising?
- Bleeding from the vagina
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Shortness of breath before starting an exercise
- Chest pain
- Muscle weakness
- Calf pain or swelling
- Regular, painful contractions of the uterus
- Fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina
Why is it important to keep exercising after my baby is born?
Exercising after your baby is born may help improve mood and decreases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that can occur more frequently in women in the weeks after childbirth. In addition to these health benefits, exercise after pregnancy can help you lose the extra pounds that you may have gained during pregnancy