Exercise For Two During Pregnancy
Exercise during pregnancy is important — it has many benefits for mother and baby. Following a regular exercise routine will do the following:
- Improve muscle tone and cardiovascular fitness
- Lead to a better appearance and posture
- Lessen some of the discomforts of pregnancy
- Strengthen the muscles needed for labor and delivery
- Make you feel good and give you more energy
The exercises which you can do during pregnancy will depend on your health and how active you were before you became pregnant.
If you were not active before pregnancy this is not the time to start an extremely strenuous exercise program. However, swimming, walking, or prenatal exercise classes are great places to get started.
If you were regularly exercising before pregnancy there is no reason you cannot continue, within reason. You may have to make a few small adjustments to your routine.
Before you begin any exercise program, discuss it with your healthcare provider. The two of you together can plan an exercise program that is consistent with your current level of fitness and health conditions. If you experience any problems, such as bleeding, premature labor, dizziness, severe abdominal pain or feeling unusually tired, contact your healthcare provider immediately!
- Once you get the okay to exercise, here are some tips to follow:
- Be sure to warm up before exercise and cool down afterwards.
- Begin exercising gradually. Take your pulse every 15 – 20 minutes and try to keep it at around 120 beats a minute. Do not let your pulse exceed 140 beats a minute. An easy way to calculate your pulse is to count the number of heartbeats by feeling the pulse in your neck or wrist for 15 seconds; multiply by 4; if your pulse exceeds 140 beats a minute, rest until your pulse drops below 90.
- You should be able to talk easily while you exercise — if you are out of breath, you are working too hard.
- Exercise on a regular basis (2–3 times a week, 20-30 minutes a session)
- Be sure to wear clothing which provides comfort and adequate breast support, comfortable shoes are also important.
- Exercise only to the point where you begin to get tired. Listen to your body; it will tell you when it is time to slow down.
- Avoid exercising in hot weather.
- Do not get overheated.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid hot tubs and saunas.
- Your center of gravity changes while you are pregnant, which can affect your balance, so be careful getting up and laying down.
- After the fourth month of pregnancy (16 weeks), do not lie on your back while exercising. This decreases the blood flow to the uterus and placenta.
- When finished exercising, lie on your left side for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Safe Exercises:swimming, brisk walking, prenatal exercise classes, stationary bicycling, low-impact aerobics, tennis, golf, bowling (be careful of back strain later on in pregnancy).
- Exercises to AVOID:As your uterus grows and your abdomen gets larger your sense of balance may be affected. This is also not the time for contact sports where you could fall, injure yourself or be struck in the abdomen. Therefore, avoid these activities: scuba diving, water skiing, basketball, softball, baseball, horseback riding and snow skiing.