For workout junkie moms-to-be, it can be difficult to make the transition from regular workouts to becoming pregnant. While working out can be completely safe during pregnancy, it is important that pregnant women take some precautions throughout the process. Plunkett Fitness in Overland Park, Kansas, wants all pregnant women to feel confident that they can safely exercise without causing any harm to their babies.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Working out while pregnant has a lot of health benefits for the mom-to-be. When done in a healthy and safe manner, expecting mothers may see the following benefits:
- Increased energy
- Lower risk and better control of gestational diabetes
- Improved muscle tone, endurance, strength, and posture
- Reduced risk of long-term obesity
- Decreased likelihood of preterm labor and birth
- Possibility for a faster delivery
- Faster recovery from childbirth
- Improved sleep
- Fewer backaches
- Less swelling and bloating
Pregnancy Exercise Safety
The key to exercising safely throughout pregnancy is listening to your body. Pregnant women should look at their workouts in terms of how strenuous they are for the body. If any negative symptoms occur, discontinue the workout right away and see a doctor. Watch out for these red-flags:
- Shortness of breath before exercise
- Headache or dizziness
- Chest pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Preterm labor
- Reduced fetal movement
- Amniotic fluid leakage
- Calf swelling or pain
- Muscle weakness
Women who have been training extensively since before their pregnancy will be able to handle a lot more than the average woman, but what is safe for one woman isn’t safe for everyone. As a pregnant woman, it is important that you understand your limits.
If you have any kind of complications during your pregnancy, it is best to speak to your doctor before trying any exercise, regardless of your pre-pregnancy fitness levels.
When exercising, it is important to stay hydrated and nourished. Water should be consumed before, during, and after any workout. Pregnant women need to eat enough healthy foods to meet the needs of their pregnancies and workout routines. However, it is best to wait until at least an hour after eating to start a workout.
Wear loose-fitting clothing and a supportive bra during exercise and get shoes that fit well and are designed for the type of workout you are intending. Do your exercises on a flat surface to prevent any falls and injuries.
Exercises for Pregnant Women
In general, it is important for pregnant women to stay active. The more active you are, the less likely you are to gain an excess amount of weight during your pregnancy. Pregnancy isn’t, however, a time to decide to lose weight. If you aren’t familiar with being in a gym, don’t start after you are pregnant. It is better to stick with workouts that won’t put additional stress on your body that it isn’t used to.
Low-impact workouts, such as yoga, swimming, stationary cycling, and walking or jogging are great options for pregnant women.
Yoga is a great exercise for pregnant women with the exception of a few poses. A lot of yoga poses help reduce back pain and strengthen the pelvic floor and core muscles. Make sure you aren’t doing anything that could lead to a loss of balance or that puts a lot of pressure on your stomach.
Squats are a great way to open your pelvic outlet and prepare your body for childbirth. If you aren’t quite ready for squats, pliés, from ballet, are a good alternative. Both of these exercises help improve balance and strengthen the muscles in the legs. It is a good idea to use a chair or wall for stability if you start to feel off-balance.
Walking is safe for almost everyone, regardless of fitness level. If you aren’t much of gym-goer, then walking is a good exercise to start with. Swimming is another low-impact exercise that pregnant women of all fitness levels can participate in without much problem.
The stationary bike is a much better option for cyclists during pregnancy, because there is very little risk of injury. The trauma associated with being hit by a car or falling off of your bike could injure both the mother-to-be and the baby.
Working with a personal trainer is a great way to continue to exercise safely throughout your pregnancy. The personal trainers at Plunkett Fitness can help you exercise in a safe manner while still keeping you as active as you want to be.
Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
When it comes to exercising during pregnancy, there are a lot of things that women can safely do. Unfortunately, not everything will be safe for an expecting woman. Any exercise that could cause blunt trauma or loss of balance should be avoided. Kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do are just a couple examples of activities that pregnant women should avoid—especially without previous experience.
Contact sports, like soccer, should also be avoided during pregnancy. Even though the baby is nestled safely in the amniotic sac, you will want to do as much to protect your baby as possible during these months.
Weight training has been a controversial subject during pregnancy. As long as the mother-to-be isn’t overdoing it, weight training can be completely safe. During this process, you should list to your body. If your body is reacting poorly to weight training during pregnancy, it is best to avoid it.
Other activities that pregnant women should avoid (or at least consulted with a doctor before doing) include:
- Any activity that requires jumping, hopping, skipping, or bouncing
- Any activity where there is a high risk of falling
- Bouncing during stretches
- Any activity that could cause abdominal trauma
- Any contact sports
- Any activity that requires jarring movements or twisting at the waist
- Any activity that requires you to hold your breath for an extended period of time
- Exercise in hot, humid weather
- Sitting in a hot tub or sauna
- Intense exercise followed by long periods of no exercise
- Diving or jumping into a pool
If you are looking for a place to safely exercise during your pregnancy, call Plunkett Fitness. Our personal trainers will work with you one-on-one to ensure that you can get a good workout in without potential damage to your baby. Set up a consultation with Plunkett Fitness today by calling 913-390-3360.