Can You Be Pregnant and Workout?
- Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
- Types of Exercise to Avoid
- Types of Exercise to Embrace
- Safety Tips
- Post-Pregnancy Workouts
If you’re wondering whether it’s safe to workout while pregnant, the answer is usually yes! However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Check out this blog post for more info.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Undertaking regular exercise during pregnancy can have many health benefits, both physical and psychological. It can help you build stamina, strengthen your muscles, reduce stress, and even prepare your body for labor. Exercise can also help you sleep better and cope with “the blues” during and after your pregnancy. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of exercising during pregnancy.
Improved Mood and Sleep
Regular exercise provides psychological and mental health benefits during pregnancy that go beyond physical improvements. Exercising during pregnancy can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Physical activity helps to improve sleep quality and duration. Exercise causes endorphins to be released, which improves moods. Even if a pregnant person is exhausted, taking the time to exercise can still give them an energy boost.
Additionally, getting regular physical activity can help manage pregnancy-induced back pain caused by the shift in posture and increased weight of the baby. Working out also helps the body stay flexible, maintains joint health, and reduces the risk of injury during labor due to more toned muscles. Exercise helps pregnant individuals have a smoother labor process since it strengthens the abdominal muscles used for pushing their baby out.
Reduced Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Exercising during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy. It occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with the demands of carrying a baby, resulting in a high level of glucose in the bloodstream.
Mild to moderate exercise has been found to improve a woman’s sensitivity to insulin, and one study showed that women who exercised frequently during their pregnancies were 33% less likely to develop gestational diabetes than their sedentary counterparts. In addition, this improved sensitivity continued even after giving birth – with informed and appropriate exercises focusing on general body conditioning and control rather than intensity – potentially benefitting health over a longer period of time.
Reduced Risk of Preeclampsia
Research has suggested that regular exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of suffering from a condition known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a potentially serious complication that occurs in approximately 3–5% of all pregnancies and involves high blood pressure, which can result in convulsions, organ damage, and even death. Exercise has been found to be an effective intervention in decreasing the incidence of preeclampsia by helping to improve circulation, decrease total cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, regulate hormones, and reduce overall stress that can contribute to preeclampsia. It has also been observed that women who engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise during pregnancy have 30–50% lower risk of developing preeclampsia than those who remain inactive. Additionally, physical activity can help to alleviate other common symptoms such as back pain and fatigue.
Types of Exercise to Avoid
Exercise is important for a healthy pregnancy, but there are certain types of exercise that you should avoid or modify during pregnancy. Safety is the priority for pregnant women when it comes to exercise, and it is critical to follow your doctor’s orders. In this article, we will discuss the types of exercise to avoid during pregnancy.
High Impact Exercises
High impact exercises are activities that involve a significant amount of force being exerted on the body. Examples include running, plyometrics (jump training), powerlifting and court sports such as basketball or tennis. This type of activity is not recommended for pregnant women due to the increased risk of injury. Most women find that it is best to avoid high impact aerobics, cycling and other activities for which their body may not be ready.
Other exercises that should also be avoided include crunches and sit-ups as well as vinyasa/flow yoga which can involve intense movements like twists, inversions and back bends. These rapid movements increase the risk of a miscarriage or other harm to your baby.
It is always a good idea to speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise routine while pregnant. They will help you identify the types of motions and impact necessary for maintaining health during pregnancy while avoiding potentially damaging activities.
Women who are pregnant should generally avoid contact sports in which there is a significant risk of physical contact with another person or object. Examples include soccer, rugby, basketball, wrestling, boxing and hockey. Participating in these types of activities while pregnant may result in injury to the baby or the mother due to trauma to the abdomen, falls or being hit by an object such as a puck or ball.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend any contact sports for pregnant women due to their potential for harm. Women who work out regularly before getting pregnant should keep their heart rate below 140 beats per minute during exercise after becoming pregnant. Women who previously did not exercise regularly should begin slowly with low-impact activities such as walking or stationary cycling on the day they first confirm their pregnancy.
Extreme Temperature Environments
When talking about the types of exercise to avoid while pregnant, one of the most important to consider is participating in activities that involve extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. This includes activities such as hot yoga and winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Extreme heat can cause dehydration, potentially resulting in an increased risk for preterm labor. Conversely, extreme cold can cause a decrease in blood flow to your uterus and can lead to hypothermia if you become too cold. Both of these scenarios are a potential danger for you and your baby.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you stay away from any type of exercise that involves extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold). When possible, outdoor activities should be avoided due to heightened exposure to environmental allergens. When engaging in any physical activity outdoors, be sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercising as well as wearing proper clothing suited for the environment temperature.
Types of Exercise to Embrace
Exercising while pregnant can help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. However, certain types of exercise are not recommended while pregnant, while others are especially beneficial. Knowing which exercises are safe and beneficial can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle while pregnant. Let’s take a look at the different types of exercises that can help you stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy.
Low Impact Cardio
Low Impact Cardio is the perfect exercise for pregnant women; even those without prior workout experience can easily adjust to the movements. Low impact cardio activities such as walking and swimming provide pregnant women with an excellent range of motion while working out. It also keeps the spine and pelvis aligned, so lower back pain is reduced. Additionally, some studies have found that low impact cardio increases endorphins which make one feel more energetic and happy. This can be beneficial during pregnancy when managing depression or fatigue is a concern for many women. Elliptical machines offer similar low impact benefits to walking as well as helping to maintain your cardiovascular fitness level. Other low impact options include water aerobics, indoor rowing, strength-training with light weight machines or hand weights, yoga and Pilates. All of these exercises have been known to help strengthen the body while maintaining flexibility throughout pregnancy.
When pregnant, it is beneficial to incorporate strength training exercise into your routine to build muscle. Strength training exercises use resistance in the form of bands, body weight and weights to target specific muscles in your body. By regularly doing certain strength training exercises, you can build muscle, improve posture and reduce back pain. Strength training is effective and safe for pregnant women who can work out up to the point of delivery if their doctor approves it.
Strength exercises are typically split into two main categories: isolation and compound movements/exercises. Isolation exercises focus on one muscle group at a time, such as bicep curls or tricep kickbacks which target your arms. Compound movements require more than one joint movement and often use multiple muscles in order for you to execute the move correctly (think squats or lunges). This type of exercise will help you strengthen multiple areas of your body at once.
It is best to talk to your health care provider before beginning a strength-training routine while pregnant so they can determine which strength-training exercises are best suited for you specifically. A few key areas that are important when doing strength training during pregnancy are breathing techniques, focus on good form and never overexerting yourself. If done properly with guidance from a qualified professional or healthcare provider, there are benefits associated with sticking with a prenatal fitness routine throughout the duration of your pregnancy!
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are two types of exercise that are ideal for pregnant women. Not only will they help maintain fitness levels, but both also offer relaxation benefits and can focus on improving posture and core strength which is important for preparing for childbirth. Yoga focuses on breath control, body position, stretching and strength training. It can help reduce stress, improve sleep and relax the mind. Pilates focuses more on breathing techniques, concentration, abdominal muscles and the constant use of the whole body rather than individual muscle groups. It can help improve posture and alignment while toning muscles to support the growing bump during pregnancy.
It is possible to work out while pregnant, however, it is important to stay safe and take extra precautions to ensure the safety of both you and your baby. Before beginning any exercise routine, it is important to consult your doctor and create a plan based on your individual needs and health. Here are some safety tips to consider when exercising during pregnancy.
Listen to Your Body
When deciding whether or not to exercise during pregnancy, it is important to listen to your body and make sure that you are comfortable. It is normal for pregnant women to have some aches and pains, however if the pain becomes more intense or lasts more than a few hours you should seek medical advice. Additionally fatigue can be common in pregnancy and so it is important to know your own limits and take breaks when needed. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women consult with their healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.
It is important to remember that every woman’s body is unique, so doctors may advise a certain type of activity over another depending on an individual’s health history This can include the duration and intensity of exercise as well as what types of exercises are safe or off-limits. For example, activities such as contact sports (like basketball or soccer) may be contraindicated due to potential risk of contact or falls; while yoga, swimming, light jogging, walking and strength training are generally considered safe and beneficial during pregnancy. When exercising while pregnant it is important keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute and avoid exercises on your back after the first trimester due to potential risk associated with decreased blood flow from increased abdominal pressure against the large veins in your body.
It is important to stay hydrated when you are pregnant and working out. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. One way to ensure adequate hydration is to weigh yourself before and after exercise; for every pound of sweat loss, replace it with 16 ounces of water or sport drinks. Additionally, be aware that some sports drinks and vitamin waters may contain caffeine, so read labels before you drink them.
When pregnant, your body needs additional electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to help regulate fluid levels in the body effectively. Drinking electrolyte-replacement beverages or adding some salt to your meals will help keep your muscles functioning properly so you can have a safe workout experience.
Wear Proper Clothing
Pregnant women should wear clothing that is comfortable, fits well, and allows for a full range of motion during exercise. Loose-fitting t-shirts or tanks and form-fitting athletic wear are good choices. Women should also be sure to wear supportive sports bras for added support and comfort.
Additionally, pregnant women should pay special attention to their feet and ankles. Shoes with adequate cushioning are essential to providing enough support during activity. Wearing socks with grip can help prevent slippage that can cause injury.
Finally, the use of a maternity belt may also be beneficial in providing pelvic girdle support and helping to manage lower back pain during exercise. Proper clothing that supports the body is crucial for any woman who is engaging in physical activity; however, proper hydration goes hand-in-hand with dress as well.
After having a baby, many new mothers will want to get back into a fitness routine to reclaim their pre-pregnancy bodies. However, it can be hard to know where to start and what is safe for a post-pregnancy body to do. Depending on your individual situation, there might be a variety of safe workouts that you can do. Let’s discuss the different options for post-pregnancy workouts.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, are essential for strengthening the pelvic region of a woman’s body and should be done both during pregnancy and after. Kegels are great for improving bladder control, rebuilding collagen that naturally diminishes with age, and for improving your sex life by strengthening the muscles responsible for orgasm.
Kegel exercises can be done anywhere; no special equipment is needed. To do a proper Kegel, you need to tighten the muscles around your vagina as if you’re trying to stop urinating midstream. Hold this tense feeling in your muscles for five seconds before releasing them back to their normal state. If done correctly, you will feel a slight pulling sensation in the pelvic area whenever you contract your muscles. Perform at least 10 repetitions a few times each day. Simply contracting and releasing these muscle groups will build strength in those areas over time — no need to overdo it!
Another helpful post-pregnancy exercise routine is low impact aerobic activities like walking or riding a stationary bike. Low impact workouts can help decrease stress hormones while increasing postnatal bonding time with baby or significant other — it’s a win-win! For more intense exercises such as strength training or jogging, always consult with your doctor first before beginning any fitness regimen postpartum.
Postpartum cardio is an important part of post-pregnancy workouts for a healthy body and mind. It helps reduce the risk of complications related to weight gain, as well as lower the risk of mood disorders. Cardio is any activity that increases your heart rate, including running, jogging, swimming, using a treadmill or elliptical machine and even brisk walking.
The amount of time and intensity of each session should be tailored to you — listen to your body’s cues so it is not overwhelmed with too much too soon. Depending on your current physical state, start your post-pregnancy cardio with a walk around the block and work up to 30 minutes at least three to four times a week. Vary the workouts with speed intervals or try alternating between higher intensity days and lower intensity days like yoga or pilates.
You can add strength training exercises into your postpartum cardio sessions for a more challenging workout. This will help build muscle mass which increases fat burning capabilities and supports better posture from carrying around your baby all day long. Be sure to use proper form when working out so you do not injure yourself or cause unnecessary strain on any muscles that may be weakened from pregnancy and childbirth-related recovery processes.
Psyche yourself off with some upbeat music or friends motivating you along the way — whatever helps you enjoy your exercise sessions more will definitely increase the likelihood for success in achieving healthy fitness goals! Staying consistent helps form lifelong habits that will benefit both mother and baby immensely in terms of healthier, happier lifestyles!
Core Strengthening Exercises
After giving birth, it’s important to continue exercising to promote strength and correct posture. Core strengthening exercises are particularly beneficial for post-pregnancy workouts. Many of these are basic bodyweight exercises found in exercise classes and online resources that can be tailored for specific fitness levels. It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before starting any post-pregnancy workout plan.
Core Strengthening Exercises
-Plank: While on your hands and knees, tuck the toes, lift the hips up, maintain straight back and keep the head in line with the spine. The goal is to hold this position for as long as possible (without arching or sagging).
-Side Plank: This variation of plank strengthens different parts of the core by beginning with laying on your side with elbow directly under the shoulder and feet stacked. Then lift body up until only elbow/forearm and feet rest on floor. Make sure spine remains upright in a straight line with head facing forward.
-Bridge: This exercise helps if you’re having issues with back pain from pregnancy or it’s a good warmup before getting into other exercises. Begin laying flat on back and slowly raise hips up until shoulder blades/feet form a straight line while breathing deeply throughout this movement. -Bicycle Crunch: Bicycle crunches can help tone abdominal muscles while flexing your oblique muscles which support both sides of lower trunk area when bending or twisting torso during workouts. Lay flat on your back putting hands behind head while raising legs off floor forming 90 degree angle at waist level extended outwards – inhale while crunching one elbow to wrap around opposite knee – exhale while switching sides – repeat this alternating motion for desired sets/time frame focusing on breathing techniques throughout exercise proper form is great way to obtain results quickly.
Checkout this video: