Simple facts to remember for exercising when pregnant
By Debbie Rossi
Understand that any limitations placed regarding exercise frequency, intensity or time are for the benefit of the developing baby. Your NUMBER ONE GOAL and PRIORITY is the health and well being of your baby.
Avoid overheating- Your growing baby does not have the same ability to dissipate heat as you do. Some ways to avoid overheating are
- Avoid prolonged exercise Limit your aerobic exercise to 20 minutes or less give yourself breaks during the workout to rest and cool off
- Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout
- Do not use sweating as an indicator of how hot you may be getting, your core temperature may rise without any perspiration
- Avoid exercising on hot, humid days
- Wear light loose clothing
AVOID SAUNAS AND STEAM BATHS AT ALL TIMES DURING PREGNANCY
Avoid high intensity exercise. Studies have shown that when a mother's heart rate stays in a range of approx 140bpm the baby has no abnormal responses. You can do this by;
- Change your aerobics class to a lighter pace programme, modify the level of impact and use less vigorous arm movements
- Wear a heart rate monitor at all times
- Be realistic about the need to exercise in moderation
- Have a prolonged cool-down after the aerobic portion of your workout. DO NOT stop exercising suddently or go directly from aerobic exercise to lying on the floor. Gradually reduce the intensity of the your workout.
AVOID frequent and prolonged exercise after week 28 gentle walking, breathing exercises, and stretching should suffice from this week onwards.
LIMIT the amount of exercise that you do lying on your back. This is particularly so from the second trimester onwards (week 13-27) as this could cause you to feel faint and lightheaded, but more importantly the blood fllow to the placenta and baby can decrease.
RESISTANCE training during pregnancy should involve low weight, high repetition work. Avoid heavy strength training, avoid isometric moves where you hold your breath. 2-3 sessions a week is sufficient.
WEAR a good supportive bra as your breasts increase in size.
STENGTHEN YOUR pelvic floor muscles. You can do this while seating or lying down on your side
AVOID RAPID changes in direction. As your body shape changes so does your centre of gravity which may affect your balance and stability. Avoid lots of turns and twists and quick move changes. Be very CAUTIOUS IF DOING STEP OR PUMP CLASSES
STRETCH GENTLY The hormone relaxin is increased in your body during pregnancy. This hormone cause increased joint laxity which may make your more susceptible to injury. GO EASY
LOW BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS can sometimes occur resulting in feeling faint. Carry some jelly babies and try to have a light snack 2 hours before exercise.
STOP EXERCISE if at any time during exercise you feel very hot, faint, dizzy, short of breath, experience vaginal bleeding ANY INDICATION THAT SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT. Seek medical advice
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