Exercise is safe and beneficial for women at all stages of pregnancy. Regular exercise during pregnancy even if done for a smaller duration of time helps the expecting mother stay healthy, both physically and mentally. As per a statistics report, pregnant women who get minimum recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day tend to have easier labors and deliveries than those women who have not been exercising during pregnancy. It is a myth that a pregnant woman needs to rest all the time; on the contrary it is recommended she is as active as possible without straining herself. All women should be encouraged to be physically active during pregnancy by practicing moderate amount of exercises regularly. There are many trainers who specialize in doing prenatal exercise and one must exercise in their supervision.
One of the best and safest physical activities during pregnancy is walking. It can help in cardiovascular exercise without much exertion to the body. Low-impact aerobics, prenatal yoga, swimming, stationary cycling are other safe and advisable exercises during pregnancy. These exercises help in maintaining normal blood pressure, keeping heart beat normal and also do not put much pressure on the joints. If practiced in moderate quantities regularly, these exercises can be really beneficial for pregnant women.
However, there are certain exercises which are not safe during pregnancy and need to be avoided completely as these can be harmful for expecting mothers.
Pregnancy time exercises which involve lying flat for longer time periods should not be done as the weight of the enlarged uterus could compress the major blood vessels and restrict the blood circulation to both the mother and the fetus. Exercises which need lying on stomach should not be practiced during pregnancy as it can have harmful effects on the fetus.
Although aerobic activities are beneficial during pregnancy but activities like jumping, bouncing and jerky movements must be avoided. They can have increased impact on joints which are already in a relaxed state.
Both the mother and the baby need constant flow of oxygen. If the expecting mother is not breathing for a longer duration of time; then she is over exerting herself which can be dangerous
Motionless standing can restrict the blood flow to the different organs of the body. After the first trimester; any physical activity which involves motionless standing should be avoided.
For exercise during pregnancy, you should not progress your yoga practice as your ligaments are already loose. If any attempt of stretching is done which hurts or feels uncomfortable; it should be stopped immediately.
Back bends or contortions which include extension of joints should not be practiced during pregnancy. Movements which involve deep flexion in them should be avoided by expecting mothers.
Exercises or sports at altitudes up till 2,500 meters are normal and can be done with moderate intensity. It is better to avoid activities beyond this altitude as it can lead to altitude sickness which includes symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness, weakness etc.
In Scuba diving, as you dive into deep water the pressure increases and even the counterbalanced pressure can result in birth defects, fetal decompression sickness etc. Skydiving is also not advisable during pregnancy as the increase in height can be harmful for the fetus.
Sports like gymnastics, downhill skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding etc. which involve a high risk of falling during the course of practice should not be tried during pregnancy. They can be dangerous both for the mother and the baby as well. Contact sports and high impact sports which involve direct bodily contact like ice hockey, soccer, basketball should not be tried during pregnancy as they can lead to excessive joint stress, abdominal trauma etc.
Advanced abdominal moves like full sit-ups and double leg lifts are exercises to avoid when pregnant. These exercises can move the abdomen leading to dangerous consequences.
There are certain exercises which involve heavy weight lifting and they involve maximal isometric muscle contractions. These exercises can put excess stress on the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system of the body. Hence, these exercises are completely forbidden during pregnancy.
During Pregnancy Yoga exercises which can raise your body temperature by more than 1.5 degrees F are not advisable. This causes blood to be carried away from your uterus and your skin as your body tries to cool down. Hence, you should avoid going into saunas, steam rooms or hot tubs etc.
Back pain is one of the major discomforts for pregnant women. I remember the severe back pains I had during my pregnancy which would only ease after my workout and my pre-natal massage. By doing some moderate workouts during pregnancy; the body posture is maintained, and thus helps in reducing back pain up to a certain extent.
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Gestational diabetes is mostly seen in expecting mothers who are above 35 years of age. In this case, the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate the sugar during pregnancy. There can be frequent urination and other symptoms like nausea, fatigue etc. So, certain exercises are suggested to be practiced as a method of certain relief from this. I had gestational diabetes but with walks and diet and exercise, I was able to control it.
Mostly women experience constipation and bloating during pregnancy due to the pressure on the system with the growing baby. Regular Pregnancy exercise at home can help in reducing the discomfort caused and make the pregnancy smooth.
It is a myth that gaining weight is good for the baby. On the contrary, mother should only put on the weight of the baby and nothing more than that. Workouts during pregnancy can help in improving the muscle tone and strength of the body. It increases the energy of the body, keeps weight gain under control and also keeps the mind and mood of the expecting mother fresh.
Sleeplessness is a common problem during pregnancy. Anxiety is the main reason to cause sleeplessness during pregnancy. But regular pregnancy exercises at home can help in bringing sound sleep to the expecting mother.
In real, there is no particular level of exercises that must be practiced during pregnancy. It all depends on the body of the expecting mother. However, it is advisable not to go for extreme level of workouts during pregnancy. Expecting mothers can practice moderate level of exercises regularly so as to remain healthy.
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Workouts during pregnancy is a very good option to keep you healthy, fresh and rejuvenated. It has a positive and refreshing impact on the mother as well as the baby. However, you should be cautious and very careful while exercising when you are expecting. Those exercises which can be dangerous should be completely avoided and the safe ones can be practiced in moderate quantities after proper medical advice.
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This write-up from whattoexpect.com will also be of interest for you!