Exercise and Pregnancy
Exercise comes highly recommended when pregnant. Not only does it help control weight gain, but some women swear it helps with delivery also. However, there are some things to keep in mind in order to protect yourself and your growing little one.
Firstly you need to monitor your heart rate as you are working out. Letting your heart rate rise too high could be dangerous to your little one especially in your first trimester. You want to maintain a steady heart rate and should do the talk test throughout your workout to make sure you are at a safe level. The talk test is when you talk during your workout. If you are having a hard time talking and become breathless rather than getting out actual words, then you are working too hard and need to take it easier. Most doctors recommend that you work at a pace where talking is challenging but still possible.
Pregnancy is not the time to try out new exercise routines. Stick with the routine you have already been doing and that your body is used to. You may find that you have to make some modifications to some of your exercises as your pregnancy progresses. If you are a runner, a modified low impact jog throughout your first trimester is fine but once you enter your second trimester and begin to show, your jog has to be brought down to a walk. For those of you who love sit ups, crunches and floor push-ups, you can continue to do these up until you hit about 14 weeks or so. After that time period no floor exercises are recommended.
If you do not have any sort of exercise routine in place before you become pregnant, this does not mean you should not exercise at all. Almost every doctor will tell you that walking is a great exercise for any pregnant women who are not high risk. Walking at least thirty minutes, three times a week is generally a safe way for a pregnant woman to stay active.
Walking is something you can do during all three trimesters though you might find yourself moving at a slower pace by your third trimester. Another great plus to walking, especially as you approach your due date, is that walking can actually bring on labor. Many doctors will advise their patients to walk, walk and walk some more in the weeks leading up to their due dates to get things rolling. Some women who have walked throughout their entire pregnancy have an easier delivery and recovery period.
The days of pregnant women kicking their feet up and not moving from the couch for nine months are days of the past. While strenuous exercise is to be avoided, pregnancy is no longer a good excuse to stop moving.
While the above is a good guide for many pregnant women, you should always discuss activities such as exercise with your doctor to ensure that it is safe in your case.