Pregnancy, Exercise, and You

6-9-12 Project Yoga Richmond
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gamma Man

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can no longer work out. In fact, some studies show that keeping active during pregnancy can actually shorten the time you spend in labor, help your baby be happier, and aid postpartum recovery.

Yet, there are some things you need to take into account when planning your pregnancy exercise routine:

  • A doctor’s recommendations carry more weight than your fitness trainer’s. Talk to your doctor about your exercise routine, and see if there are any areas of concern. Most of the time, you’ll only have to make small modifications to your routine, if any.
  • If you’re starting to exercise during pregnancy, do so slowly. The number one priority during pregnancy is your baby’s health, not sculpting your body. You’re trying to make your body into the best possible environment for your baby.
  • There are certain exercises you should avoid during pregnancy. Activities that involve jumping, lying on the stomach or the back, and lifting heavy objects should be avoided in general.
  • Temperature is a concern. Avoid saunas, hot tubs, and any other environment where you’ll be exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Watch out for dizziness. It’s common for a pregnant woman to become dizzy when exercising. By the time you hit 20 weeks of pregnancy, your body is holding almost twice as much blood as normal. That means you need to warm up every time you exercise, and cool down as well. Help your heart make the transition between heavy activity and normal activity.
  • Balance and your center of gravity can be a concern, too. The body does a good job of adjusting to those changes, but you’ll notice that some of those muscles that keep you balanced are the first to get tired when exercising.
  • Don’t try to lose weight. You’re going to gain weight during pregnancy. It’s healthy. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about gaining too much or too little weight.
  • As pregnancy progresses, you’ll have to modify your routine. Your body is going to change in shape and size, and your capabilities are likely to change as well. Be conscious of these changes. And adjust your workout accordingly.
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