If you’re already an active person, in most cases you can continue what you’re doing with a few simple modifications—of course, just consult your doctor first. If you’re not an active person, your doctor can advise you on how to (safely) get moving. Trust me, your pregnant self will thank you when you’re leaner, more energetic, and have fewer aches and pains than you would sans exercise. And so will your baby! Studies have shown that children who were exposed to exercise in utero are less likely to be overweight and are at a lower risk for diabetes. Exercise is not only a way to start connecting with your baby, but it’s a way for you to stay connected to your own body.
Granted, there may be a few bumps along the way (pun intended), but if you take it one day at a time and embrace the changes your body is going through, you will come out stronger in the end.Warm up and cool down
Warming up your muscles is crucial before a workout, especially when pregnant. It prepares your muscles and joints for exercise and prevents muscle strain. Warming up also builds your heart rate at a more moderate pace. Since your heart rate is naturally higher during pregnancy, be sure to give yourself extra time to warm up and also time to cool down at the end of your workout. Allow at least 5 to 10 minutes of light stretching afterward to allow your heart to return to its resting rate and prevent post-workout soreness.
Drink water before, during, and after a workout. Hydration is especially important once there’s a baby on board. Becoming dehydrated can cause contractions or raise your body temperature to a level that is unhealthy and could potentially be dangerous for you and your baby. While there’s no official recommendation for how much water you should be taking in, a good guideline for pregnant women would be to drink 1 cup of water before, 1 cup after, and 1 cup every 20 minutes throughout the duration of your workout.
After your first trimester, you’ll want to avoid lying on your back. Lying in this position puts pressure on a major vein called the inferior vena cava. Too much pressure on the vena cava can reduce blood flow to your heart and uterus, causing you to feel dizzy or nauseous. This usually applies to women who have ‘popped,’ as it's the weight of the belly that puts strain on the other body parts, but it would be best to avoid it altogether, especially for women who were not very active before pregnancy. (So, sorry, no shavasana.)
Don’t overdo it
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just beginning your fitness journey since becoming pregnant, you should know that pregnancy is not the time to lose weight or begin a rigorous workout routine. Pregnancy is about maintenance and feeling healthy for you and your unborn. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise is an average amount for every day of the week, as long as you have the go-ahead from your doctor. Beginners should start with 5 or 10 minutes a day and then slowly build up to 30 minutes on all or most days of the week. Stop and call your doctor if you experience dizziness, chest pain, increased shortness of breath, uterine contractions, or vaginal bleeding.
Avoid contact sports and any activity that might throw off your balance like skiing, horseback riding, and gymnastics—as your belly grows, you're likely to be less stable on your feet. And even if you’re normally graceful, be mindful that during pregnancy the hormone relaxin, which loosens your pelvic joints to get you ready for childbirth, will also relax other ligaments and joints in your body, making you more susceptible to injuries.
Avoid workouts that have you standing in the same place, like lifting weights or holding yoga poses for prolonged periods of time. When you stand still for too long, you can decrease blood flow to the uterus and start to feel dizzy. Instead, stick to workouts that keep you moving.We suggest exercises like swimming, walking, a prenatal ‘yoga-flow' class, or Pilates.
Myth or Fact:
Never get your heart rate over 130 while exercising during pregnancy.
Myth. There is no one "target" heart rate that's right for every pregnant woman. "People are still stuck on this heart rate issue, and it was never based on anything concrete," What they and most experts now rely on as a guide is RPE, or rate of perceived exertion.
"This is a scale that determines how hard you are working based on how you feel when you are working.
Myth or Fact:
It's not safe to do abdominal work during pregnancy.
Myth. Not only is it OK, experts say abdominal workouts can provide many benefits.
"Your abdominals and your entire core, including your pelvic floor, should be strengthened throughout pregnancy, and doing so will help not only during pregnancy, but also aid in labor and delivery -- and recovery.
Moreover, Fleming says, it's going to help with posture problems which will also benefit you after baby is born.
Because you should avoid any exercises that you have to do on your back after the first trimester, gentle standing pelvic tilts, seated belly breathing, or tightening abs, holding, then releasing, as good ways to keep ab muscles in top condition.
Myth or Fact: If you were a runner before pregnancy, you can continue to run during pregnancy.
Fact. As long as you and your pregnancy are healthy, and you feel OK, experts say it's safe to run right up until you go into labor. If you were running prior to pregnancy, you can continue during pregnancy, as long as you feel OK.
If it does start to feel "odd, listen to your body and don't do it. Remember however that this is not the time to break any performance records. "Also realize that as your pregnancy progresses, you're going to be able to do a little less with each trimester. So don't compete with your pre-pregnancy running achievements, or even with what you could accomplish in a previous trimester. Talk to your doctor about your exercise plan and any precautions that may pertain to your individual situation.
Myth or Fact: Pregnancy can make you more prone to certain fitness injuries.
Fact. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. It's designed to help lubricate joints so labor is easier. When joints are too "lax," your risk of injury increases.
"What you want to avoid are any activities involving deep muscle or joint movements -- heavy lunges, squats, those types of activities.
Farrell warns us to be careful during the flexibility portion of any workout. "You're going to find you have an increased range of motion, but that's not necessarily a good thing, because it can lead to injury. To avoid problems, she says, stay inside your pre-pregnancy range of motion. "Just because you now find it easy to reach well beyond your toes, doesn't mean you should!
Myth or Fact: Not every exercise is safe to do during pregnancy.
Fact. Exercises involving balance, like biking or skiing, or contact sports like soccer, can be risky during pregnancy. "After the fourth month, your balance is affected. So that's when you don't want to do anything that will put your body in an unstable position, which is any exercise or activity that requires balance.
Myth or Fact: If I exercise too much during pregnancy, I will pull nutrients from my baby so he/she won't grow properly.
Myth. "The reality is that your baby is going to get what it needs. So if anything, you'll have a dip in your own nutrient stores, but your baby's stores will be fine. The way to avoid any problems for you is to keep blood sugar levels balanced by eating smaller, more frequent meals. "Babies of mummies who exercise during pregnancy are born leaner, but organ size and head circumference are normal. So don't be afraid to exercise during pregnancy,"
Myth or Fact: If I never exercised before pregnancy, now is not the time to start.
Myth. "If you never excised before, pregnancy is not the time to become the exercise bunny. But that doesn't mean you have to spend nine months sitting on the couch," says Riley. Something as simple as taking a daily walk or going for a swim can do wonders for your pregnancy, and make you feel better as well. You can also combat the fatigue of pregnancy and help you sleep better at night.
Ten minutes a day is a great beginning. Then increase it to 10 minutes twice a day, then gradually go up to 15 minutes. Even just walking around the block is going to have important benefits.Myth or Fact: Any sign of trouble -- like spotting or pain -- means I should stop exercising and not do it any more during my pregnancy.
Myth. While signs of pain, spotting, lightheadedness, nausea or dizzinessare all reasons to stop exercising immediately, it doesn't necessarily mean you will have to give it up forever. "What it means is talk to you doctor. Tell her exactly what you felt and what you were doing when you felt it, how long it lasted, and the severity. And then ask for her advice as to whether or not you should continue with an exercise program,
These are warning signs to stop exercising and contact a doctor: vaginal bleeding, fluid leaking from the vagina, decreased fetal movement, uterine contractions, muscle weakness, calf swelling or pain, headache, chest pain, increased shortness of breath, dizziness, or feeling faint.