Maintaining a regular exercise routine during pregnancy can help to minimize some of the aches and pains of pregnancy and prepare your body for childbirth. A healthy woman with no pregnancy complications is able to continue her normal exercise routine throughout her pregnancy or start a new exercise routine with her doctor’s permission.
Safe Exercises for Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your center of balance is slightly off, so you’ll want to avoid exercises that put you at an increased risk of falling, such as skiing or biking. Walking, swimming or yoga are wonderful exercises for any stage of pregnancy and can help you stay active without pushing your body beyond what it can do comfortably. If you regularly participated in other exercises before pregnancy, you can continue to do them through most of your pregnancy with your doctor’s permission in most cases, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Staying hydrated is important during pregnancy, especially while exercising. Dehydration can cause preterm labor and other pregnancy complications. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Flavoring your water with a lemon slice or flavoring packet may help you to drink more water if you are experiencing any morning sickness.
Watch Your Heart Rate
You should always be able to carry on a conversation while exercising during pregnancy. If you are too out of breath to talk, then your heart rate is likely too high and you need to slow down. Your heart is under increased strain during pregnancy and has a tendency to beat faster than it did before pregnancy. While there is no current recommendation for safe heart rate levels during pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is important to listen to your body and watch for symptoms that you are working out too hard.
Exercise to Prepare for Birth
Childbirth requires a great deal from your body. Exercising routinely and building up your muscles before birth can contribute to an easier labor and delivery. Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor, which cannot only help during delivery but can help you recover faster after childbirth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pelvic tilts can help relieve back pain during pregnancy and help move a baby into the best position for birth toward the end of your pregnancy.
Warning Signs for Emergency Treatment
If you experience any cramping or bleeding, either during or shortly after exercising, you will want to stop the activity you were doing right away and contact your doctor. Watch for any warnings signs that you have been overdoing it, such as headaches, extreme exhaustion or shortness of breath. If you experience contractions, dizziness, leaking fluid or decreased fetal movement, contact your doctor immediately.
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