Having been a personal trainer for many years, I had many lady clients who became pregnant, and their immediate reaction was `I’m pregnant, got to stop exercising! ` this article will guide you through the correct way to carry on exercising through pregnancy. You really don’t have to stop.
Staying fit during early pregnancy
Staying healthy and fit when you’re pregnant is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your baby. Even if you have morning sickness or other discomforts of early pregnancy, getting up and moving around will often help you feel better. However, you should rest when you need to rest.
Exercise will also help you regulate weight gain, prepare you for bearing more weight, and get you in shape for childbirth . It’s good for mood and sleep, too.
You probably aren’t noticing many major bodily changes yet, other than feeling like you need a little more rest. The most important rules for first trimester exercise are to pay attention to those new limits on your energy and to avoid falls. Make sure your doctor knows what exercise you’re undertaking and talk to them about anything new you start.
Now is a good time to add a low-impact exercise that you’ll be able to do as your pregnancy progresses. For example, if you run for exercise three times a week now, substitute one session of water exercise for one weekly run during your first trimester. That way, you’ve got a head start on water workouts if and when you give up running.
Where to start
If you didn’t exercise regularly before you got pregnant, now is the time to get in a habit that could serve you for a lifetime. Begin with a low level of exertion and work up to 30 minutes per day, 3 to 5 times per week. If possible, work with a trainer who has expertise in working out during pregnancy.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. If going to the gym isn’t for you, don’t beat yourself up about it. Go dancing with friends or splash around in the pool. Any exercise is better than none. Just do something.
Continuing research shows that pregnant women can benefit from safe exercise if they follow certain guidelines. A doctor’s checkup and authorization are required and can help determine what exercise program is right for both the mother as well as the baby. Safety is of paramount importance.
The participant should always maintain control of the body. Movements should be made slowly. Throughout your entire pregnancy maintain a neutral spine position. Exercising during pregnancy will make the workload harder. The participant should not try to maintain the same performance as before. As the pregnancy advances, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the same workload. Allow the workload to decrease in intensity and duration. The participant should listen to their body and be aware. During pregnancy, the center of gravity, body alignment and balance decreases, joints loosen and may become unstable. Keep moves limited to low impact, basic moves avoiding fast directional changes. Weights and rubber tubing are not recommended for the pregnant class participant.
Warm up duration should last for 10 to 15 minutes while maintaining good posture, body alignment and a neutral spine position. Heart rate checks should start at 5-minute intervals for the beginner to 10-minute intervals for the more experienced exerciser. Intensity should be limited to 60% of the maximum heart rate for beginners and to 75% for the experienced exerciser. Range of motion should be kept to shorter rather than full range movements followed by static stretches. Pay particular attention to areas such as the shoulders, neck, calves, and hip flexors. Emphasize relaxation more than extension and flexibility for the lower back.
Overhead arm stretches assist in breathing and allow the entry of more oxygen into the lungs opening up the thoracic cavity. Be careful not to over stretch. Concentrate on slow, sustained stretching. Avoid Adductor stretches as these places undue stress on the pelvic bone area. Target heart rates and ratings of perceived exertion are reached more quickly than non-pregnant women. This is not the time to challenge the cardiovascular system. Challenge the system before pregnancy to get into shape for the pregnancy.
Abdominal work after the first trimester remains controversial and is not recommended. Train the muscles before pregnancy to help with the pushing stage of labor. The elastic memory of strong abdominal muscles will help speed up your return to the pre-pregnant condition. Upper back exercises will counter the stooping effect of heavier breasts. It is important to remember that during pregnancy is not the time to get into shape. The goal should be to simply stay in shape. Before the pregnancy is when conditioning and strength training should be accomplished. It like training for an event, you wouldn’t wait until the race to begin training.
Pilates can help you address two of the challenges you’ll experience during pregnancy: balance and lower back pain.
Pilates builds core muscles through a series of equipment and floor exercises. Your first sessions will focus on building strength. Later sessions challenge that strength and your balance.
Avoid poses where you lie on your back as well as any twisting of your midsection. Don’t overexert yourself during Pilates or other belly-focused exercise, or you could cause diastasis recti, a condition in which the parallel panels of your abdominal muscles temporarily separate.
During the first trimester, women can usually perform the same abdominal exercises as non-pregnant exercisers. A supine position (lying on the back) is considered safe. It’s still best to check with your doctor because understandings change due to ongoing research. In all cases, use common sense and listen to your body.
During second and third trimesters, it is best to limit abdominal work to less than five minutes. Women in the later stages should rest sitting up or lying on their left side for a few minutes while other class members complete abdominal work. Again, your doctor should issue the guidelines during all phases of pregnancy. Overall, the best exercise for the pregnant exerciser is walking.
The bottom line is, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you must immediately stop exercising, far from it, it`s healthier for you and your baby to keep exercising as long as you can.