Benefits of Exercise:
- You feel better. Working out, pregnant or not, releases endorphins that lift your spirit and your mood! Plus you can sleep better after getting a workout in during the day. Working out also keeps you regular.
- You look better. Your skin gets to sweat out all of the things that it normally has trapped in. You feel better, so you look better. Your muscles hold their shape.
- You can regain your before baby body and fitness levels back much easier if you workout during your pregnancy.
- Labor and delivery will be easier. Being in shape is good for your whole body and labor uses your whole body – from your muscles to your heart and lungs. Exercise makes this process easier on you and your body.
How long and how hard:
It is not yet determined if there is a magic number that your heart rate should stay under. Doctors used to say your heart rate should not get over 130–140 but that is not the case anymore. After the first trimester your baby has it’s own circulatory system. Now doctors are saying that it is ok to exceed this old limit, but within reason. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If it tells you to slow down or stop – do it.
Signs you are working out too hard are:
- lightheaded feeling
- pain in your stomach or lower abdomen
- shortness of breath
- heart palpitations.
- anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
The duration of the workout depends on what you were doing before you got pregnant. For some women it is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times a week. But for other women who were working out a lot before they became pregnant – it is fine to workout for 30-60 minutes 5 times a week. Use your best judgement and think about what is right for you and the baby.
What exercises are best:
Great exercises for women expecting are:
- swimming – it makes you feel weightless
- walking – strengthens your heart while toning your muscles
- yoga – stretching and relaxing is always important
- weight training – using light hand weights to tone and keep muscles toned
- spinning – stationary bike class – great because you can workout with others but at your own pace – also, you can’t fall off!
Exercises to avoid: mostly anything where you can fall or come into strong contact with someone. A few examples of things you should hold off doing are:
- horseback riding
- skiing – both snow and water
- soccer/basketball/lacrosse – any sport where you can collide with another player
- ab exercises – not good to be on your back and squishing the baby – plus – what are they even helping?
- plyometrics – jumping is not a good idea and can cause lots of pain