Exercising During Pregnancy: What to Avoid and Embrace
● By Digital Media Director
Barber-Ensz, barre3 Sioux Falls
Maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help you not only feel your best during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, but also bounce back after baby arrives! Exercising during pregnancy has all the same benefits of exercise outside of pregnancy, such as fighting fatigue, boosting moods, improving sleep and easing back and pelvic pain. During pregnancy, exercise also has some amazing benefits for baby, including boosted brain and heart health, lower BMI and lower odds of gestational diabetes. Read on for a few tips and tricks regarding what to avoid and what to embrace during your pregnancy journey (keep in mind every pregnancy is different and you should consult with your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine).
What to avoid:
· High impact activities. Exercises with jarring motions, extensive jumping, rapid changes in direction, or where falling is more likely are probably not the safest choice while your little one is growing.
· Crunching. Doing crunches while pregnant can actually weaken your abdominal wall and contribute to abdominal separation.
· Lying on your belly. This can put unwanted pressure on your uterus, besides the discomfort of your growing bump!
· Lying on your back. This could cause a restriction of essential blood flow to you and your baby, as the weight of your uterus can compress an artery that runs along your spine. You may feel fine lying on your back; just take note if you feel lightheaded and need to sit upright.
· Overstretching. Levels of the hormone relaxin will rise during your first trimester and can help you feel super flexible, but avoid stretching farther than you did before pregnancy to prevent injury.
What to embrace:
· Low impact activities. Any activity that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working will feel good! Some great options while pregnant include swimming, stationery biking, walking, yoga, and barre classes. These activities can help you maintain muscle tone and work your heart and lungs without adding stress to your joints.
· Honor your body. Remember, you’re working out for two now! This isn’t the time to start training for a marathon or trying to set a personal record; listening to your body and adapting your workout if something doesn’t feel right is what’s best. Stay focused on the reasons you are exercising: a healthy, happy pregnancy, a sense of ease in delivery, and a smoother recovery.
· Let go of expectations. Every day will feel different, and some days you might just not feel up to the same level of intensity to which you’re accustomed. Know that it’s ok, and just enjoy this special time.
After baby arrives, you’ll want to take some time to heal and be close to your little one. Your doctor and your body can help tell you when you’re ready to start a regular routine again, but be sure to give yourself some grace and time to bounce back!