The exhaustion, morning sickness and aches of pregnancy make it challenging to find motivation for exercise, but staying fit is a key element in a healthy pregnancy. Most women can safely exercise throughout a pregnancy. Customizing your maternity fitness plan ensures that your personal needs are met without putting you or your baby’s health at risk.
Staying fit helps you move around easier even at the end of your pregnancy, when exhaustion is often a problem. Physical activity during pregnancy builds your endurance and keeps your cardiovascular system in shape, helping give your baby an optimal environment in utero and preparing you for the intensity of labor. Keeping your body in shape will also make you feel better overall and helps you bounce back after your baby is born.
Your fitness level entering the pregnancy plays a large role in how you stay fit while pregnant. A woman who exercises regularly is generally able to continue during pregnancy unless the exercise is extremely high impact or presents a risk of falling. Modifications to intensity level help you continue with physical activity. A women who isn’t already in shape needs a slower approach to exercising during pregnancy to avoid injury. A woman experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or complications should consult with her personal physician before exercising to ensure her baby’s safety.
Comfort is key when choosing maternity workout gear. Clothing made from synthetic materials wick away sweat from the body. Stretchy form-fitting fabrics as well as oversized cotton t-shirts are practical options for your changing form. Support is also a concern. Choose supportive, comfortable shoes, especially for activities like walking and jogging. You may even need a larger size, as feet often swell in pregnancy. You’ll also need to wear a supportive sports bra, especially if your breasts are tender from the pregnancy.
Staying fit isn’t worth an injury to yourself or harm to your baby. Safety precautions reduce the risk of harm, allowing you to reach your goals of pregnancy fitness. Pay attention to your body for signals that something is wrong. Strange pains, contractions and especially vaginal bleeding signal the need to stop and consult with your physician. Dizziness and nausea tell you to slow down or choose a different type of exercise. After the first trimester, avoid any form of exercise that requires you to lie on your back. The heavy uterus can slow blood flow in this position. Combining an exercise routine with a healthy diet can be more effective than exercise alone.
Low-impact exercises protect the joints and prevent jarring of the baby as you get and stay fit throughout your pregnancy. Walking is a popular choice during pregnancy because of its low impact and allows you to easily modify distance and intensity to match your fitness level. Swimming is another option for staying fit without putting strain on your joints. A prenatal yoga class can increas your strength, flexibility and balance while taking your special needs into account.