The Importance of Exercise During Pregnancy
Between the aches of first-trimester morning sickness and the exhaustion of mid-to-late pregnancy, exercise might be the last thing on a pregnant woman’s mind. However, there are real benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy – as long as you’ve cleared it with your OB first. Though ultra-marathons and weight-lifting should be approached with caution, there are some ways to move your body that can help you and your baby be healthier throughout the pregnancy.
How Exercise Makes Pregnancy Easier
Along with the joy of pregnancy comes a lot of physical discomfort, and there’s no magic wand that can whisk away some of those difficulties. Exercise can, though, make some of those difficulties more manageable. For instance, exercising can help:
- Ease lower back pain.
- Reduce constipation and bloating.
- Lessen anxiety and stress.
- Sustain healthy blood pressure levels.
- Reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
- Boost energy and mood.
- Reduce swelling of limbs.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Make sleep easier.
- Promote endurance.
These are just a few of the issues pregnancy can initiate. Like exercise before or after pregnancy, its benefits depend on what your body needs. Unless bedrest is in the best interest of you and your baby, keeping your body physically active can make your pregnancy much less challenging.
In situations where your health or the health of the baby is at risk, your physician may tell you to take it easy and exercise after your baby is safely in the world. Some instances where you are better to forego exercise include:
- Cervical issues.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Severe anemia.
- Placenta issues.
- Preterm labor.
If your doctor has mentioned any of these issues, be sure to consult with him or her before exercise.
Good Exercises to Try During Pregnancy
Intense exercise, where you push your body to the max, isn’t best during pregnancy. You have to balance protecting your body and baby with increasing its efficiency and your overall health. It’s best to talk with your doctor before taking on any new exercises, but, after you are cleared, you may be wondering the best ways to get your body moving. Here are a few exercises to consider:
- Swimming. Taking a dip in the water can feel like a huge relief during pregnancy because it makes you feel weightless. Swimming can also keep you from getting overheated unlike other forms of exercise. Though water feels good, you should avoid hot tubs or unfamiliar bodies of water.
- Walking. All you need is a pair of good shoes and a clear path to get started on a walking routine. Many pregnant women say walking transformed how they felt during pregnancy. Avoid walking during our icy or snow seasons to prevent falls. The Superior Dome has many available hours for walkers – and it’s free.
- Prenatal yoga. Yoga can be great for calming the mind and stretching the delicate muscles and tendons necessary for childbirth. When practiced with a prenatal certified yoga instructor, you can start to learn how to use your body to help during the upcoming labor rather than work against itself. It can also be a gentle exercise that improves blood circulation and helps the whole body.
Follow Your Body’s Lead
If an exercise begins to feel uncomfortable, listen to what your body is saying and stop. Make sure to plan for breaks and stay hydrated, drinking water before, during, and after exercise. During pregnancy, you should have enough breath to maintain a conversation during your exercise. If you don’t, back off. There’s plenty of time to push yourself after your pregnancy. Talk to our team if you have questions, and let us know before you start any new or unfamiliar exercise programs.