When it comes to working out, it’s natural for pregnant moms to have questions and concerns. Don’t sweat it! With these eight simple rules for hitting the gym, you can save the perspiration for your sports bra and enjoy being active even when you’re expecting.
Rule 1: Talk to Your Doctor
Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program. If you exercised regularly before becoming pregnant and your pregnancy is risk-free, you can usually continue to exercise although modifications will need to be made along the way. There are some instances when exercising during pregnancy is not ok, so speak with your healthcare provider to make sure your fitness program will not put you or the baby at risk.
Rule 2: Drink Plenty of Water!
Be sure to drink water before, during and after a workout. Otherwise, you can become dehydrated which can cause pre-term contractions as well as raise your body temperature. Both of these can be dangerous to the baby.
Rule 3: Take in Extra Calories
While you are not actually eating for two, you do need extra calories when you are pregnant, especially if you are exercising. It is recommended that a pregnant woman take in between 300 and 500 extra calories a day during pregnancy. Choose wisely: Get your calories from fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and whole grains.
Rule 4: Warm Up
It’s important to warm up before beginning your workout. The warm up prepares your muscles and joints for activity and gradually increases your heart rate. Try things like walking briskly or jogging in place to get the heart pumping.
Rule 5: Keep Moving
Standing still for long periods of time can decrease blood flow to the uterus and cause blood to pool in your legs, making you dizzy. Keep moving by switching positions or walking in place.
Rule 6: Cool Down
It’s just as important to cool down as it is to warm up. Take a few minutes at the end of your workout to walk slowly as well as to do some easy stretching. This will allow your heart rate to return to normal as well as prevent stiffness in the muscles the next day.
Rule 7: Don’t Allow Yourself to Overheat
Increased metabolic rate as well as increase blood flow mean that you will feel warmer than usual during pregnancy. This is even more true when you exercise. It is much easier to overheat during pregnancy so be sure to wear loose clothing that breaths. If you feel dizzy or short of breath, stop the workout, take off layers, move into an air conditioned room or step into a cool shower. As I mentioned before, hydrating is key, so drink lots of water.
Rule 8: Exercise Regularly
Build your workouts into your weekly routine. It is important to stay consistent with your exercise pattern during pregnancy. You will be less likely to injure yourself and see more benefits if you are exercising regularly. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you can safely engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week – as long as you have your healthcare provider’s approval.