How to Choose Safe Exercises During Pregnancy

Exercising during pregnancy is important for the health of both mother and baby. However, you need to know what is safe and what to avoid when exercising. This is largely going to rest on your level of fitness before you became pregnant. If you exercised regularly prior to pregnancy, then you can generally keep exercising in that manner during pregnancy while scaling back on the intensity. For instance, if you are a runner, then you can keep running. However, if you did not get a lot of exercise before pregnancy, then you will have to start out slow with an exercise program that is safe.

Having said the above, there are general dos and don’ts that apply no matter what your level of fitness was prior to getting pregnant. First of all, it is very important that you don’t overheat your body. This is what keeps pregnant women out of the hot tub at the gym when they would very much like to be in it. Overheating your body can cause your blood pressure to rise and it can cause dehydration and swelling. Of course, you need to sweat, but make sure that you don’t exercise in extreme heat and that you wear minimal clothing and keep the intensity of your workout to a comfortable level.

You should also keep your heart rate lower when you are exercising. When you begin to sweat you will begin to breathe harder and your body will begin to get warm. This is the maximum you should push your heart rate. If you are too out of breath to talk normally to someone, then you need to slow it down. Getting a heart rate monitor will help you keep track of your heart rate so that you can make adjustments as needed.

It is important to avoid high-impact activities when you are pregnant, especially in your third trimester. If you have been involved in a high-impact activity such as running or tennis prior to pregnancy and you are physically fit, then you can usually keep doing it and may be able to modify the activity to be easier on your body. If you are not used to any high-impact activities, then avoid them while pregnant.

When you do any strength exercises, keep the weight lower for the lower extremities. This will help keep your blood pressure down. Lunges and squats are fine, but no added weights. You should exercise 3-4 days per week for about 30-45 minutes during your first and second trimester. Once in your third trimester, bring the time down to 20-25 minutes 4-5 days per week.

When it comes to stretching, make sure your stretches are short and easy. In other words, don’t hold your stretches for too long. Your body is producing a hormone – yes the dreaded H-word – called relaxin that relaxes the tissues around your joints to prepare the pelvis for delivery. This also affects the muscles throughout the rest of your body and if you stretch too much you will end up with hyper-mobility of the joints, which can be painful and damaging.

Exercising safely while pregnant means ensuring that your body remains a safe haven for your developing baby. You want to be sure everything is going just fine. Exercise is very important and your body will bounce back more quickly after the baby is born. Just remember not to overdo it and you will be a model for good health all throughout your pregnancy.

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