Exercise during pregnancy is not prohibited- only modified. A lot of pregnant women think that exercise causes them to miscarry their baby. This thinking should be corrected. In some ways, yes, exercise can cause miscarriage but not all the time. The principle of: “Too much and too little” can be applied here. Too much exercise and strenuous ones could indeed cause miscarriage and too little to none could cause danger to both the baby and your health. In order to have a healthy pregnancy and to prepare you for labor, the following tips should be considered when exercising.
Safe Tips when Exercising
First, talk to your doctor. If you have been exercising before you got pregnant, there is no need to stop your deed. All you have to do is modify your routine. But first, you need to consult your doctor and have your body checked. There are women who have weak cervix that could lead to threatened abortion or worst, miscarriage even when doing light activities. This should be eliminated before engaging into any form of exercise. On the other note, if you are a beginner (or have been a couch potato all your life), you can ask for a beginner’s guide from your doctor to prevent stressing your body out on your first day of exercise.
Second, monitor your caloric intake. Exercise decreases the caloric reserves of the body. The lost of calories would mean the lost of weight. If you are underweight, you have to increase your caloric intake before engaging into any exercise. On the other side, if you are over weight, you have to trim down your caloric intake.
Generally, pregnant women should add more calories in their diet. This addition is intended for the baby’s use. This requirement does not mean that you have to eat everything. Ideally, you should gain 2-4 pounds during the first trimester of your pregnancy and one pound every week thereafter. You also have to monitor your body mass index (ideal range is 18.5 to 24.9) to prevent gestational hypertension and diabetes.
Third, keep away from dangerous sports. When pregnant, the body releases a hormone called “relaxin”. This hormone helps in relaxing the pelvic bones and loosens joints to prepare the mother for labor. If you will engage in dangerous sports (such as contact sports, horseback riding, mountain biking or downhill skiing), you might fall off and break your bones. Regular bicycling is great during the first few months of pregnancy but later on, stationary bikes are advised.
Fourth, wear appropriate exercise clothes. It is very common to have weight gain during pregnancy. This gain would probably make your pre-pregnancy clothing not suitable for you. If this happens, it is better to buy new clothes than stick to your odd fitting clothes. Always wear loose and breathable clothes. Make sure that your breast is well supported by a maternity bra and wear comfortable shoes.
Fifth, do warm up exercises. To prevent post workout body pains and hurting your joints, do warm up exercises. They prepare your body for more strenuous activities, tone your muscles and increase your heart rate.
Sixth, keep hydrated. Of course, you will sweat out when doing your routine. With such, you have to frequently replace your fluid losses. If you will not replace them, your body temperature will increase and cause contractions. Contractions, when you are not yet term for labor, is very bad for the baby’s health as this can decrease their oxygen supply.
According to James Pivarnik, the director of Center for Physical Activity and Health in Michigan, there is no recommendation yet for how much water should gravid women drink when exercising. He added that it is good for them to take one cup (about 8 ounces) of water before exercising, one cup every 20 minutes and one cup after the workout. The number should be increased during summer or hot days.
Seventh, do not ever lie flat on your back after the first trimester. Lying flat on the floor during a workout compresses the vena cava (the veins that brings blood back to the heart). Compressing it would mean decrease blood flow to the heart and blood flow away from the heart. This can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and shortness of breath. If you want to lie flat, simply put a pillow under your buttocks to slightly curve the body. This prevents the compression of the vena cava.
Eight, do not stay in one place. You have to move around and keep your circulation flowing. Staying in one place pools the blood on your legs thus decreasing blood flow back to the heart. Also, it increases your chance of getting varicose veins.
Ninth, keep it simple. Do not over do things. If your body is already tired (even though you want to do more), rest. Stop pushing your self until your get exhausted. Remember, you are pregnant and your baby needs some of your nutrients and calories.
Tenth, monitor your temperature. The body temperature of pregnant women is usually higher than their pre-pregnancy temperature. This change is just one of the many changes that pregnancy has to offer. With such, you would easily get warm. Raising your core temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit during exercise and maintaining it for about 10 minutes could affect your baby’s development (especially during the first three months of your pregnancy). The signs that warn you of over heating are excessive sweating, nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath. If you noticed these things, simply loosen your clothes, drink plenty of water and go to a cooler environment.
Eleventh, change position slowly. The increase in your abdominal girth shifts your center of gravity. With this, you have to stand up (from a lying position) or shift position slowly. This prevents you from throwing off your balance and gives your body enough time to cope up for the next position.
Twelfth, do not forget to cool down. After exercising, do a number of stretching routines or walk for 10 minutes. This will help your body to relax from the stressful activity you just had and return your heart rate back to normal.
Last but not the least is, make exercise a habit. Exercising everyday do tons of miracles that are beneficial for you and your baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that pregnant women should do a 30-minute exercise everyday (or most of the days) to have a healthy pregnancy.
These are the safe tips that you should note when exercising. Again, always seek the suggestions and recommendations of your doctor before engaging into any exercise routine.