Congratulations! You are pregnant! Now what?!
You might be asking yourself these questions:
“Is exercise ok for me? Is exercise safe for the baby?
Will I benefit from exercise during this time?”
The answers are yes, yes, and yes!
The benefits of exercise are endless. If you are healthy and have been exercising prior to pregnancy, you can continue what you have been doing as long as your doctor has approved you for exercise. If you haven’t been exercising, you can begin to exercise with a doctor’s approval. There are benefits to prenatal exercise no matter what point of the pregnancy you are in. A little goes a long way so whatever you do that feels good is beneficial.
Exercising during pregnancy is great for;
- Strengthening your deep core and pelvic floor muscles needed for labor and delivery.
- Reducing discomfort, aches, and pains.
- Preventing and/or lessening back or sciatic pain.
- Increasing your energy level and stamina.
- Preventing or lessening pain associated with postural changes that occur.
- Improving your balance and coordination.
- Maintaining a healthy body composition.
- Increasing the probability of a faster, smoother labor.
- Helping to keep your mood and spirit lifted while easing anxiety, tension, and fatigue.
Research has shown an exercise program can reduce lower back and pelvic pain and improve cardiovascular endurance and strength. Research also shows the psychological benefits of exercise during pregnancy include reducing the level of depression during and after pregnancy. Win, Win, Win!
The American Council of Gynecology (ACOG) recommends exercising a minimum of 150 minutes a week, which breaks down to at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Exercise can be any form you enjoy and are comfortable with. This can include cardiovascular exercise, strength training, pilates, or yoga.
Things to take into account during your prenatal exercise;
- You should always feel better after exercise.
- Use the talk test to find the appropriate intensity to work at, meaning you should be able to carry on a light conversation throughout your program.
- Drink plenty of water during exercise.
- Learn how to properly strengthen and activate your deep core and pelvic floor muscles.
- Focus on Proper Breathing.
- Watch for any “coning” down the middle of the abdominals to ensure there is no extra stress on the fasical abdominal wall to prevent and/or minimize diastasis recti.
Every woman and every pregnancy is unique.
The most important rule is – Always listen to your body!
Enjoy this beautiful and wonderful time in your life and appreciate the magic your body is creating. Treat your body well with love, kindness, and health.