What keeps your heart healthy, your spirits high and your weight in-check? Exercise. Now with a baby on the way, physical activity is more important than ever. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the gym:
Why it matters
As long as you have a healthy pregnancy and get your doctor’s permission, a regular and gentle exercise routine can help ease a host of uncomfortable symptoms. When you get moving, you can expect the following:
- A good night’s sleep
- A boost to your self esteem
- Slower weight gain
- Smoother labor
- An easier recovery post birth
- Help with pregnancy aches and pains
What to do
Pregnancy isn’t the time to take up a rigorous exercise routine. If you were very active before becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor or midwife about continuing your workouts. However, if you’re new to the gym, start slow. Consider taking a prenatal fitness class where you can rest assured that each of the exercises is safe for you and baby. Walking, prenatal yoga and Pilates and swimming are all generally safe for moms to be. Picking up a fitness DVD may be a good option for expectant moms on a budget. Focus on building an exercise routine gradually, starting at 10 minutes and working gently up to 30. If you can’t exercise lightly every day, aim for a few days each week.
When to slow down
While it’s widely accepted that exercise is beneficial to mom and baby, there are situations when it’s wise to slow down. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop your exercise program and get in touch with your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Vomiting or nausea
When exercising during pregnancy, it’s important to remember you should never push yourself. Don’t overheat your body, keep well hydrated and stop immediately at the first sign of discomfort.
Have you been exercising while pregnant? Have any tips to share with other moms to be? Share your thoughts in the comments below.