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How to safely exercise during pregnancy

Approximately one in 20 women are diagnosed as obese during pregnancy. Whether you’re regularly active or exercise is completely new to you, it is important to be physically active during pregnancy. Physical exercise helps you adapt to your body changing and helps you maintain a healthy weight gain. Read on to learn why and how to safely exercise during your pregnancy and what to be aware of when keeping active with a growing bump.

Why should you exercise during pregnancy?
Regular physical activity can provide many health benefits for pregnant women. According to guidance released by UK Chief Medical Officers, expectant mothers should undertake 150 minutes of moderate physical activity throughout the week. These recommendations aim to reduce issues such as obesity, diabetes and other health concerns that may arise during pregnancy and cause complications. Exercise will also help you to cope with labor and to get back into shape after your baby is born.

What are the benefits or exercising during pregnancy?
Some of the benefits of exercising during pregnancy include increasing energy

–       Improving posture

–       Strengthening back muscles, which is important as the belly grows

–       Keeping a controlled weight

–       Reducing stress

–       Sleeping better at night

–       Becoming physically stronger

–       Returning to pre pregnancy weight faster

–       Preparing the body for the physical challenges during and after pregnancy

What exercises can I do if  I’m already used to working out?
If you were regularly exercising before pregnancy, you can continue your fitness routine with a few exceptions to be considered. Generally, healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies can continue their previous training program, but should only do so after consulting with a doctor.

What exercises can I do if exercising is new to me?
If you haven’t exercised regularly before getting pregnant, it is not recommended to start a new strenuous exercise routine during your pregnancy. You should always consult with your doctor first, but in general there are many safe choices in low impact activities such as walking, swimming, water aerobics to take on. Prenatal classes that are specially designed to new moms to be, pilates or yoga are also good options. These activities consist of low intensity exercises and avoid moves that might harm your baby.

In general, no matter what fitness level you are at, it is important to pace yourself appropriately and begin with a warm up and finish with a cool down. The hormones produced throughout pregnancy soften an expectant mother’s joints in preparation for labor. This can lead to extreme stretching which can trigger an injury. Stretching should be done gently, particularly after the first 16 weeks.

What exercises should I avoid when pregnant?
While exercising during pregnancy is recommended for pregnant women, there are some sports that are best avoided due to increased risk of injuries and simply because they will be too uncomfortable or tiring.

While pregnant you should avoid doing any type of exercise that is uncomfortable. Examples of exercises that may cause pain during pregnancy includes lying flat on your back for long period of times after your first trimester. Your bump will be pressing on the main vessel that brings blood back to your heart and will also affect blood flow to the fetus. You should not do heavy weight lifting, abdominal strengthening exercises if they cause you pain, practice any type of contact sports (kickboxing, soccer, basketball etc) or scuba dive.

Why do I need to do pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises before, during and after pregnancy are important. Your pelvic floor muscles are weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. It is important to begin pelvic floor training early in your pregnancy. Pelvic floor exercises should be performed throughout the pregnancy and resumed as soon as possible after giving birth.

How to manage high intensity exercise during pregnancy?
It is normal to feel out of breath more quickly when exercising during pregnancy. Your resting heart rate rises, so you won’t be able to exercise with the same intensity as before pregnancy – and you shouldn’t. A pregnant woman is breathing in 20-25 % more air to eliminate the carbon dioxide levels in the blood and in the baby’s blood as well.

When you reach the third trimester, you should keep the intensity of your exercise to a level below one where you can’t conduct a normal conversation during your exercise. Always listen to your body, you are the one to know your limits. If you feel well, continue. If anything feels uncomfortable, stop and seek guidance and advice from your doctor.

Changes in blood pressure during pregnancy
Blood pressure tends to drop in the second trimester of a pregnancy. This means you can experience dizziness when you change position too quickly. On the other hand, some women suffer preeclampsia – high blood pressure triggered by their pregnancy. Keep track of your blood pressure during pregnancy with QardioArm. Bring the wireless blood pressure monitor with you to take a reading anytime, anywhere. You can also share your measurements with your doctor.  

Weight management
Keeping your weight under control during pregnancy is important for both mother and baby’s overall health. QardioBase, our smart scale and body analyzer, is the perfect scale to help mothers achieve and maintain a healthy weight before, during and after pregnancy with its dedicated PREGNANCY MODE. The smart scale is a great tool to help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight easily and with safety in mind.

Mayo Clinic
Fit Pregnancy
My Virtual Medical Centre

Wireless smart scale.
For moms and moms to be.
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