The moment that you have been dreaming about for years has finally arrived and you and your husband are expecting your first baby! You care about your physical and mental health and wish to provide your baby with the best start possible. You believe in living an active, healthy life and plan to continue exercising throughout your pregnancy.
Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy
1) Exercise helps you feel better.
- Exercise will increase your energy level.
- Exercise will raise your self-esteem and body image.
- Exercise will make you feel better emotionally because “feel good chemicals” called endorphins are released during exercise.
- Exercise will reduce back pain and improve your posture by toning and strengthening your back, thigh and buttocks muscles.
- Exercise will reduce constipation.
- Exercise will prevent joint problems by activating the lubricating fluid in your joints.
- Exercise acts as a natural sleep aid by reducing your anxiety and stress.
2) Exercise helps you look better.
- As you perform careful exercises throughout your exercise, you are maintaining your flexibility and muscle tone.
- Exercise improves your blood circulation, which gives your skin a radiant glow.
3) Exercise helps to prepare your for your birthing experience.
- Exercise helps you build muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance, both of which are needed during labor and delivery.
- Begin your prenatal exercise program where you left off before becoming pregnant. If you were very active and strong before conceiving your baby, you may continue your program, with some safe modifications. If you were inactive and out-of-shape before getting pregnant, then begin an exercise program slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workout.
- Talk to your obstetrician before beginning or continuing an exercise program while you are pregnant.
- Get involved in the type of physical activity that you enjoy and benefit from physically and emotionally.
a) Swimming. The best prenatal exercise, as it is comforting and non-impact.
b) Water Aerobics. Great cardio workout, low-impact and good social activity!
c) Dancing. Try Latin or Ballroom with your partner. Avoid bouncing or jumping.
d) Yoga. Yoga offers both a physical and mental workout. Try prenatal yoga.
e) Pilates. Pilates works to strengthen your core muscles (stomach and back).
f) Bicycling. Go biking through nearby parks or special biking trails.
g) Walking. Walking is good for beginners. Try to walk a mile, three times a week.
Remember to always listen to your body throughout your pregnancy, especially when you are exercising. If your body gives you a warning, such as you become dizzy, then stop your activity and rest and relax. Your center of gravity will change as your baby grows, so be careful about not losing your balance.
Stop your exercise if you feel any of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- back pain
- heart palpitations
Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day during the summer.
Avoid the following sports:
- downhill skiing
- scuba diving
- horseback riding
- contact sports
- step aerobics
A few more important tips:
- Make you that you stay hydrated. Keep drinking fresh water.
- Avoid exercising if you are feeling sick.
- Listen carefully to your body and respect your body’s signals.