Hitting the gym maybe the last thing in your mind, especially when you are trying to keep down food in the first trimester, huffing and puffing during your third trimester, and/or spending most of your waking hours travelling between the loo and bed. However, research states that exercising is good not only for you but also for your baby.
When you exercise, it helps in the following:
– Backaches, constipation, swelling and bloating
– Boosts your energy especially in the first and third trimester
– Relaxes you
– Let’s you sleep better
– Helps in the development
– Keeps your blood pressure from rising
– And, lastly, boosts your mood
Before you start exercising, it’s important that you start talking to the healthcare provider regarding the do’s and don’ts.
The benefits of exercise don’t stop only for the mother, for the baby benefits too.
– Better insulin sensitivity
– Less prone to neurodegeneration
– Lower BMI
– Fitter heart
Getting The Okay From Your
Before you start exercising, its best to ask your doctor. Even if beneficial for both the mother and baby, the doctors might advise you against it if you have any of the following conditions or may be prone to any of the complications:
- Multiple pregnancies
- Heart or lung disease
- Preeclampsia or very high blood pressure developed during pregnancy
- Vaginal bleeding
- Preterm labor
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Severe anemia
Pacing It Out During Pregnancy
Most healthcare providers would suggest mommy-to-be’s a 30-minute exercise routine that can be done most days of the week, if not all. One of the easiest thing to begin with is walking which provides aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on joints. Strength training is also fine, provided you limit your weights. Swimming, cycling a stationary bike, low-impact aerobics are some of the other options.
Before you head out to the gym, remember to stretch, warm up and cool down. Drink enough fluids and be careful as not to overheat.
Consider the following guidelines:
- If you haven’t exercised for a while: Take it slow and begin with at least five minutes of physical exercise per day. Build it up slowly
- You exercised even before pregnancy: You can keep working out as you did even when pregnant, as long as you are comfortable, hydrated and not overheated.
Activities That Should Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt
Activities such as the following should be undertaken only after checking up with the healthcare provider:
- Exercise that expects you to lie flat on the floor after first trimester
- Contact sports such as volleyball, ice-hockey, soccer, etc.
- Activities that come with high risk of falling – downhill skiing, horseback riding etc.
- Scuba diving
- Activities that would cause you to hit water with force – surfing, diving, water-skiing
- All activities that involve trauma to abdomen, like kickboxing
Staying Motivated To Exercise
Pregnancy can be tiring, and sometimes, you may feel like staying back and just sleeping a little more than walking or exercising. To stay motivated, especially on those days, you can do the following:
- Start small: Don’t go overboard with exercise. If you haven’t exercised for long, begin with five minutes and then increase it as and when you can. It’s also okay to take a break.
- Find partners to accompany: Exercising
- Listen to your body: You are going to be tired, you have a tiny little human being growing up inside you. Be aware of all the small signs and symptoms that warns you against exercising.
After Childbirth And Beyond
Don’t stop exercising just because your child is already born unless you had a complicated C-section. Regular exercise can help you in:
- Losing weight and getting back your ‘unpregnant self’
- Improving your mood
- Keeping you energized (especially even after those long nights)
- Help strengthening your pelvic muscles
Exercising does not reduce or affect the quantity or quality of breast milk. However, you need to be sensible about exercise and remember to talk to your healthcare provider about anything that seems out of place to avoid complications.