What You Should Know About Prenatal Exercise

When it comes to exercising during pregnancy there is a lot of information out there and not all of it is accurate. How do you know what information to listen to and what to avoid? Well, it’s difficult to know. Below some popular myths about exercise and pregnancy are cleared up so that you know where you stand.

First of all, when you are exercising, there is no magical heart rate number. To say that your heart rate should not go above 130 is just pulling a number out of the air. Each person is different and this number will depend on a person’s size, age, and level of fitness prior to getting pregnant.

As for your abdominal muscles, you can and should exercise them during pregnancy. The core muscles in your body, including your pelvic floor muscles, are crucial when it comes to labor and delivery. They need to be in shape and the stronger they are, the easier labor and delivery will be. There is one precaution that pregnant women must take. It is not safe for a pregnant woman to lie on her back after the first trimester so it is important to do standing pelvic tilts and tightening and releasing the abdominal muscles while sitting.

Now, it is true that some exercises can be riskier during pregnancy. These are the exercises that require balance. After the fourth month of pregnancy the body’s center of gravity shifts and that means that a woman’s balance is easier to throw off. It is wise to avoid exercise that requires balance, such as biking and skiing, after the fourth month.

It is also important to be careful with any stretching and flexibility exercises. During pregnancy the body produces a hormone called relaxin, which is designed to relax the tissues around the pelvic joints to prepare for labor and delivery. This works on all the muscles and tissues in the body and while you may have a greater range of motion, you are also at a greater risk of injury. It is important to avoid deep muscle movements while pregnant.

If you have not been exercising before pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t during pregnancy. It means that you should start slow and easy. If you jump right into marathon training, then you will be taking on too much. However, starting with daily walking or swimming and beginning with about 10 minutes of exercise per day is great. You can increase this as you progress and before you know it you will be more fit after your baby is born than before you became pregnant.

Exercising will not cause your body to steal nutrients form your baby. Your baby will still get everything they need to grow healthy and strong. If your caloric needs increase, you will simply need to eat more.

If you encounter spotting, pain, dizziness, or any other sign of a potential problem, this doesn’t mean that you will have to stop exercising entirely. If you encounter any problems, stop exercising and see your doctor or midwife immediately. You can let them know what you have been doing and they will tell you whether or not you can safely continue exercising.

Overall, exercise during pregnancy is not only safe, it is necessary. It creates a stronger body for the mother and a stronger body will be able to grow a healthier baby. So determine your exercise of choice and go for it. You will look and feel great throughout your pregnancy.

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