Exercise during pregnancy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, provided you don’t overdo it, and you have no pregnancy complications, according to the Mayo Clinic. Exercising during the first trimester doesn’t have the physical limitations of the last few months of pregnancy when a large belly makes exercise much more uncomfortable. Morning sickness and exhaustion may get in the way of a regular exercise routine, but staying active as much as you can will help you maintain a healthy blood pressure, gain weight within the recommended guidelines and prepare your body for birth. It is important to get your doctor’s approval before starting a new exercise routine during pregnancy, because some pregnancy complications may limit your activity in the first trimester.
Listen to Your Body
It’s important to avoid exhausting yourself during pregnancy. Since the first trimester can be exhausting on its own, it’s important to avoid activity that exaggerates this, especially if you are suffering from morning sickness. Yoga, walking and swimming are great low-impact exercises during pregnancy that allow you to stay active without becoming exhausted.
Hydration is extremely important during pregnancy and will help prevent a number of pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure, dehydration and preterm labor. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that a pregnant woman needs to drink a minimum of six 8 oz. glasses of water a day with an extra glass of water for each hour of activity. Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day, especially during exercise. Take frequent sips to prevent dehydration. Women who suffer from morning sickness during the first trimester may not be able to tolerate straight water. Try snacking on crackers before you drink or adding sugar-free flavoring or citrus slices to your water.
Don’t Start a New Exercise Routine
Many women are anxious to start living a healthier lifestyle the minute they find out they are pregnant, but the first trimester is not the time to start a new exercise routine. Your body will be going through dramatic changes in the next few months–physical and emotional–so while exercise is important, it may be too much to jump right into an exercise routine that changes your activity level too suddenly. Check with your doctor to be sure you have no health issues or potential pregnancy complications that may require you to limit your activity. Increase your activity level slowly by taking short walks or stretching frequently during the day. If you experience any cramping or bleeding, stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor.
Coping with Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Exercise can be difficult if you are dealing with morning sickness or extreme exhaustion. Getting plenty of sleep will help limit early pregnancy symptoms and provide your body the rest it needs as it adjusts to pregnancy. Eat frequent small meals; avoid exercising right after eating or when you are hungry. If you experience any dizziness in early pregnancy, avoid exercises that put you on moving exercise equipment, such as a treadmill or elliptical machine.
Keep Your Heart Rate Low
Your heart rate naturally increases during pregnancy, which will make you feel more tired. It is important that you don’t overdo it and increase your heart rate above a safe level. If you exercised routinely before pregnancy, it is generally safe to continue exercising after pregnancy, provided you have no other health problems. Continuing an existing exercise routine will likely only increase your heart rate slightly, but you will want to lower the intensity of your workout if you find your heart rate getting too fast during pregnancy.
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