When I was pregnant with my daughter Sami (back in 1991), 21 years ago (my goodness…has it been that long?), the first thing my doctor said to me was “STOP WORKING OUT!”
I looked at him and laughed! I thought to myself, “what the heck does he know about working out, he sits in his office all day long looking at pregnant women.” So in turn I replied by telling him, “I know my body and what it’s limits are, so I’ll be the judge of whether I workout or not.”
So of course, I continued to workout and workout and workout 🙂 and before I knew it, it was the day of my daughter’s birth. I couldn’t believe 9 months had gone by so fast and I didn’t have to give up any exercises other than face down leg curls… I wonder why!
And in weeks I had my pre-pregnancy figure back and had dropped a couple of pounds to boot. I was careful though being involved in weight training for 5 years prior to becoming pregnant, I knew what my limitations were.
Exercising during your pregnancy will give you some control over your body during this time of change. Exercise strengthens and tones your muscles, keeps your weight manageable and the heart in good shape. It improves your circulation which is good for your growing baby, and builds strength and endurance. Fitness training also helps to keep your muscles flexible which can alleviate all those nagging backaches that occur as you grow larger. And women who exercise during their pregnancy usually bounce back to their original shape in less time than those who don’t!
Keep in mind that most pregnant women can safely continue to do the same types of exercises they did before their pregnancy, such as weightlifting, pilates, biking, jogging, tennis, hiking, etc… as long as no problems arise.
BUT NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO LAUNCH INTO A “NEW” EXERCISE PROGRAM!
If you have not been doing any exercise on a regular basis a program of stretching and toning is a good way to start. Their are many stretching exercises available for pregnant women who would like to do something to stay toned during their pregnancy. Overall, the optimum sports for pregnant women are those that condition the whole body and enhance flexibility.
The best and safest types of exercises are walking, swimming, stationery bicycling, stairmaster, treadmill, low impact aerobics, weight training (which is my favorite), jogging (if the distance is shortened and the speed reduced).
The list of “NO-NO” exercises are all contact sports such as football, basketball, volleyball and baseball. Accidents can happen during these games and you want to protect yourself from from injuries, especially to the abdominal area. Other exercises to avoid are ice skating, roller blading, surfing, scuba diving, mountain climbing, gymnastics and high impact aerobics. These can also be risky!! But the most important thing to remember is moderation!! You should never push yourself to the point of fatigue.
You shouldn’t be out of breath, sweating heavily or feeling faint or light-headed. Any aches, pains or dizziness are signs that you’re working out too hard! If you have experienced a miscarriage or pre-term labor in the past, or if you have heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid or weight problems, bleeding, dilated cervix and conditions such as placenta previa (when the placenta is implanted in the lower uterine segment and it may partially or completely cover the cervical opening) and eclampsia (toxemia accompanied by convulsions or coma), your doctor will most likely tell you to wait until after the baby is born to begin or continue your exercise program. These are all warning signs!! And if any of these occur please contact your doctor immediately.
One way to gauge your workouts is to take your pulse. It shouldn’t be more than 140 beats per minute. And strenuous aerobic exercise should be limited to 15 minutes at a time. Also do 5 minute warm-up and cool-down exercisess before and after your workouts.
All in all…LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! During each trimester of your pregnancy tone down your workouts a little. This will help you in the long run. Your 3rd trimester is the riskiest and you usually gain the most weight. So moving around isn’t as easy as you think and you’ve got about 20-40 extra pounds to carry. This is when accidents can happen because your center of gravity is off as well as your perception and you think you can do things that you can’t.
So please remember to exercise safely, stay healthy and eat right!!! This is all for the well being of your new baby.