Yes, you can exercise when you’re pregnant. In fact, we encourage it. However, you do need to exercise safely. Some physical activities that are less desirable than others, especially as your growing belly alters your center of gravity and those pregnancy hormones go to town, loosening joints and ligaments to prepare your body for labor and delivery.
To make sure you strike the right balance between exercise and safety, we’ve put together these 5 rules:
1. Observe routine prenatal appointments. From the minute you find out you’re pregnant and every month thereafter, you should be observing regular prenatal appointments. These appointments allow your OB/GYN to monitor your health and the baby’s. She’ll help you learn more about what’s going on for your body and your baby, provide nutritional information, and check in if there is anything that seems abnormal. She will also inquire as to your daily activities so you can keep abreast of which activities are worth avoiding for a while to facilitate a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
2. No contact sports…or any activities that pose a physical threat. It’s not that your soccer club practice and games are detrimental, but the potential for bodily harm or heavy falls that are
potentially harmful are higher with certain physical activities. Jogging for the first trimester poses very little threat if you and your baby are healthy, but when you get bigger you will be more prone to falling. So the best bet is to use common sense and weigh whether or not the activity is potentially harmful or not. This is a great time to shift to low impact exercises like yoga, swimming, water aerobics, walking, and biking.
3. Remain hydrated. Adequate hydration is always important when you’re exercising but it’s especially so when you’re pregnant. Drink plenty of water to keep your amniotic sack full, your
blood pumping through an expanded vascular system, to prevent your core temperature from elevating and preventing pre-term contractions. Drink a little water before your workout, during
the workout (every 20 minutes or so) and afterwards.
4. Stop if you get too hot. Just as you can’t sit in a hot tub or take excessively warm baths, overdoing it during exercise can be equally unhealthy if your core temperature exceeds 102°. This is the temperature at which your baby can begin to suffer, especially during the first trimester. If you feel too hot, slow down and get yourself in the shade or a cooler, indoor environment. Sit down and get your feet up. Drink water to rehydrate and continue drinking a little water every 20 minutes until you feel back to normal. Assuming your exercise routine goes just fine, take an extra 10 minutes or so afterwards to walk, stretch, slow it down and let your muscles cool off to reduce the chance of post-workout soreness.
5. Don’t overdo it. This isn’t the time to show how amazing you are as an athlete or exercise guru. This is a time to exercise moderately and frequently to keep in shape, maintain a healthy weight and to improve your circulation and moods. You should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably. If you get so out of breath that you can’t do that, it’s time to slow down. If something hurts or you are exhausted, take the cue from your body and take it down a notch.
Want to run your pregnancy exercise routine by an OB/GYN? Schedule an appointment with Overlake OB/GYN. We’ll be happy to discuss your pregnancy with you and determine the best types of exercise for you and your baby.