I often get asked about exercise during pregnancy, and often, I don’t have an answer. The reason I couldn’t answer this question is because I avoided exercise during my 3 pregnancies. During my first pregnancy, I thought I would increase my chances of a miscarriage, so I decided to cancel my gym membership immediately after I found out I was pregnant. Then, with my second and third child, I didn’t even think about exercise. I was too overweight and tired and couldn’t be bothered. But I sure regret that decision now!
Here are some common questions about exercise and pregnancy:
1) What kinds of adjustments should I make to my pre-workout routine during pregnancy?
You will need more of the following 3 things: food, water, and warming up. Before you workout, make sure your body is fueled properly. Expectant moms need an additional 100 to 300 calories per day in their second and third trimester. And you need to account for the calories you burn too. Try to incorporate lean proteins and healthy grains, fruits and veggies into your daily eating. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. Once you begin, add a slow warm-up, like a walk, to get those joints moving. And always talk to your healthcare provider about your pregnancy workouts.
2) What exercises are safe during pregnancy?
This depends on when you start and whether your pregnancy is complicated. If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant, than continue with your routine, with modifications as you need them. If you weren’t fit before you became pregnant, don’t give up! Begin slowly and build gradually as you become stronger. If you’re healthy, the risks of moderate-intensity activity during pregnancy are very low, and do not increase risk of low birth weight, pre-term delivery, or early pregnancy loss.
3) Are there any danger signs I should look for if I’m working out while pregnant?
You should stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you experience any of these signs during your workout:
- sudden or severe abdominal or vaginal pain
- any blood or fluid
- contractions that go on after you stop exercising
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- a headache that won’t go away
4) Can I still run when I’m pregnant?
If you were running before pregnancy, you can keep running during the first and second trimester. But it’s not advisable to start running if you weren’t a runner before becoming pregnant. ALWAYS discuss your exercise routine with your doctor first. If you are given the green light, remember to bring extra water and a cell phone with you, and let someone know where you are running and how long you will be out. And be sure to use proper fitting shoes. You may even have to go up a size since feet often get larger during pregnancy.
5) How hard can I exercise when I’m pregnant?
While you’re pregnant, try to achieve a good level of fitness, rather than going for peak fitness. As a rule, you should be able to hold a normal conversation while you’re exercising. If you used to do high-intensity workouts before you became pregnant, it’s best to ease off now. High-impact workouts may put too much stress on your joints and pelvic floor muscles. You can gradually build yourself back up to to your old regime after you have had your baby.
6) What exercises should I avoid when pregnant?
- full sit-ups
- deep knee bends
- double leg raises
- straight leg raises
- exercises lying flat on your back after the first trimester
- exercises that involve lying on the stomach
- contact sports
I hope that answers some of your common questions about exercising during pregnancy. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me on Facebook, or leave a comment here and I’ll be happy to reply as best I can.
Next week, I’m going to talk about exercising post-pregnancy!