Women who maintain exercise throughout their pregnancies manage to keep their weight in check and improve their overall fitness.
We’re all aware that exercise has a slew of health benefits. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine, women who exercise regularly during their pregnancies are able to maintain their weight and improve their overall fitness.
While exercising, keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Get your doctor’s permission
If you were a regular exerciser before becoming pregnant and your pregnancy is uncomplicated, you should be able to continue working out as usual. According to new guidelines released by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is safe for pregnant women to exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week.
In some high-risk cases, however, exercising during pregnancy is not recommended, so talk to your doctor or midwife about your fitness routine to ensure that your activities do not endanger you or your baby.
2. Watch your heart rate
Relying solely on heart rate guidelines to determine how hard you should push yourself during a workout isn’t entirely accurate because each person is unique based on genetic factors, age, and previous exercise history. Experts previously recommended that a pregnant woman’s heart rate not exceed 140 beats per minute, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has since lifted these restrictions for the first three months.
Experts now agree that keeping your heart rate between 140 and 155 beats per minute while exercising at a moderate to above-moderate intensity is safe. You can use a monitor to check your heart rate or count the number of beats for 15 seconds and multiply by four to get your pulse rate.
Safety tip: After your session, be aware of uterine contractions. Exercise-induced uterine stimulation may result in contractions or tightening. Seek medical help right away if they become unbearably painful.
3. Keep an eye on your intensity
As you progress through your second and third trimesters, make sure to reduce high-intensity training gradually.
According to researchers from the Journal of Sports Medicine, the intensity of exercise for pregnant women should be 12-14 out of 20 on the Borg RPE (rated perceived exertion) scale. So, between a rating of 6 and 20, which is maximum exertion, pregnant women should fall somewhere in the middle to reap the health benefits of exercise without putting their health at risk.
Safety tip: Talk to your doctor about your exercise routine if you have any complications during pregnancy.
4. Select the appropriate exercises
Avoid racquet and contact sports like squash, soccer, and hockey, which require quick changes of direction and put stress on your joints and muscles. Anything that puts you at risk of falling, such as mountain biking, gymnastics, skiing, or horseback riding, should be avoided.
Strengthening exercises like yoga and Pilates, on the other hand, are recommended because they encourage you to breathe and relax, which can help you adapt to the physical demands of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Full-body exercises that stimulate large muscle groups, such as stationary cycling, swimming, walking, or jogging, are ideal if you want to break a sweat.
5. Strengthening exercises
You can start lifting dumbbells while pregnant, even if you’ve never done so before, as long as your doctor has cleared you and you’re being advised by a professional. The goal of strength training during pregnancy is to maintain rather than build strength and endurance.
Reduce the weights slightly and increase the reps as you progress through the pregnancy. This is because lifting heavy weights can overstretch joints that have already been loosening due to increased levels of the relaxin hormone during pregnancy. Resistance bands, in addition to dumbells, are equally effective.
Top abdominal training tips
In your first trimester, regular abdominal exercises like sit-ups and crunches are fine, but as your baby grows, you’ll need to modify your workout.
Safety tip: Avoid tummy exercises that require you to lie on your back during your second and third trimesters. Stick to core exercises you can do while sitting, standing, or on your hands and knees.
Great calorie-burning activities
Here are some excellent calorie-burning exercises that you can do anywhere:
- A brisk beach walk burns 504 calories per hour.
- Briskly pushing a pram around the park or block burns 315 calories per hour.
- 423 calories are burnt per hour of swimming laps.
- Cycling on the road at a moderate pace burns 292 calories per hour.