During the long nine months of pregnancy, your overall health and fitness is more important than ever. Not only are you responsible for the health of the little one inside you, you’re keeping your body in great shape for the coming labor and delivery. If you want to be sure that you’re able to stay safe and fit during your pregnancy, make absolutely certain that you’re following these seven key rules.
Rule 1: Always Stop If It Hurts
When you’re exercising, it’s never a good idea to push past genuine pain–but that rule is even more important when you’re pregnant. If you’re having contractions, experiencing lower back pain, or otherwise genuinely in pain as a result of the exercise you’re performing, you should stop immediately! A talk with your doctor about what happened during your exercise and why it occurred is also a great step.
Rule 2: Hydrate
Proper hydration is critical when you’re pregnant–and it’s even more important when you’re exercising and losing fluid through sweat. You shouldn’t have to force yourself to drink; however, make sure that you’re drinking whenever you’re thirsty throughout your workout. Purchasing a cute water bottle is a great way to convince yourself to drink more regularly.
Rule 3: Swim as Much as You Can
If you’re looking for a great pregnancy exercise that will help you build strength, get in a cardio workout, and help you feel great all at the same time, swimming is the way to go! When you’re in the water, it supports your entire body, taking much of the extra weight of the baby off of your joints and may leaving you feeling refreshed. If swimming laps isn’t your favourite form of exercise, simply spending time in the pool after your workout is a great way to relax.
Rule 4: Stay Active
They’re feeling heavy, they’re tired, and getting overheated makes morning sickness kick into high gear! Regular exercise during pregnancy, however, may have a number of benefits, including:
- Easier labor and delivery
- An easier time losing weight after the baby is born
- More energy, especially during the first and third trimesters, when all you want to do is sleep
- Reduction of many of the aches and pains of pregnancy
Even when you don’t feel like exercising, get up and go for a walk around the block. Check out a prenatal yoga class. Do something active. You’ll be glad you did!
Rule 5: Watch the Heat
During pregnancy, it’s easier for you to get overheated–and that’s not good for you or baby. In high heat or humidity, take your workout indoors to keep you and baby safer and more comfortable.
Rule 6: Talk to Your Doctor
There are plenty of myths about exercise during pregnancy, and your doctor will be the best person to help dispel them. For example, if you were a runner prior to getting pregnant, you may be able to continue running throughout your pregnancy. Discussing options with your doctor, is the best way to learn what you can and can’t do, so have a serious conversation about your fitness plans with the person who is in the best position to help you.
Rule 7: Listen to Your Body
Everyone has heard of women who did incredible things during their pregnancies: running marathons, filming action movies, winning tennis tournaments and powerlifting right up until the last trimester, for example. Just because it’s possible to do those things, however, doesn’t mean that you should be doing them during your pregnancy! When you’re engaging in exercise while you’re pregnant, listen to your body. If you start to feel uncomfortable or something just doesn’t feel “right,” consider moving to a different type of exercise, taking a rest and having a drink of water, or putting your exercise session on hold until the next day.
Exercise should be part of your routine for a healthy lifestyle. You may discover that you feel better when you exercise, from the energy and mood boost immediately following your fitness health session. By following these seven key rules, you’ll find that you may engage in exercise that is safe for both you and baby.
Consult your doctor and discuss with a physical trainer to know the safest exercises that will suit your specific health status.
Dr. Shane Buntman is the owner of Melbourne Osteopathy – Sports Injury Centre, whose vision is to advance and develop standards of Osteopathy throughout Australia. He has a particular interest in treating sports injuries & the elderly community. He is skilled in manipulation, biomechanics, functional rehabilitation and postural assessments.