When you are pregnant there are many rules to follow and healthy things that you should be doing to make sure that you and your baby are healthy. You need to take your prenatal vitamin, eat healthy foods, eat enough, and exercise. Many pregnant women are under the impression that exercise is bad for the baby and can hurt it. It is true that there are some exercises that pregnant women should stay away from – but this doesn’t mean that everything is off limits.
Before we can give you a list of exercises it is important to know the safety guidelines before you choose a regimen and begin. First you should know that exercising is good for pregnant women because it can put you in a better mood, help you to sleep through the night, take away most of the aches and pains that you experience, and will even help your body to prepare for the labor pains that will come when you give birth. It also helps you to bounce back to the body you had before in less time.
1. Talk To Your Doctor
It is important to your doctor before starting any type of exercise. Your doctor will let you know exactly what exercises to stay away from and what will be more beneficial to you. They will also let you know when it is time to stop (usually around the last trimester).
2. Eat More Calories
Remember that you are exercising to stay in shape not to lose weight. That means you need to take in an extra 300 to 500 calories. This will help you to keep your body nourished and keep your bodies strength up.
3. No Rough Playing
If you are usually an active person and are used to playing the rough contact sports you need to stop this. This means no biking, horse back riding, or anything else that could cause you to be injured easily or could hurt the baby.
4. Be Comfortable
It is important that you wear comfortable clothes that help you to breathe easily and move easily. Wear layers if needed and remember to wear a maternity bra for support and comfort. Wearing athletic shoes will help to add support to your feet. Because of swelling you may have to buy a larger size.
5. Warm Up
Warming up is important in any exercise routine. It helps to prepare your muscles and slowly increases your heart rate. If you skip this step you will find yourself in a lot of pain afterwards.
6. Drink, Drink, Drink
Drinking water is one of the most important steps to remember. You want to make sure that you don’t do anything that could harm you or your baby. Drink water when ever you feel thirsty or hot to avoid dehydration. You don’t need to be passing out during the middle of a workout. Try drinking at least one glass (8 oz.) every twenty minutes unless you feel that you need more.
7. Avoid Lying Flat On Your Back
After the first trimester you need to avoid lying flat on your back without any elevation. Being in this position puts pressure on a major vein called the vena cava, which will diminish blood flow to your brain and uterus, and can make you dizzy, short of breath, or nauseated. There are some women who are comfortable in this position far into their pregnancies, but this doesn’t mean that the blood flow to the uterus isn’t affected. Placing a pillow under your right hip or buttock will allow you to be almost supine without compressing the vena cava.
8. Keep It Moving
Standing still for long periods — when you’re lifting weights or doing yoga poses — can decrease blood flow to the uterus and cause blood to sit in your legs – which can make you dizzy. Keep moving by switching positions or walking in place.
9. Don’t Push It
Don’t exercise to exhaustion. Slow down if you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. In general, the best guideline is to listen to your body. When something hurts, that means something’s wrong, so stop. You should feel like you’re working your body, not punishing it.
10. Don’t Get Too Hot
Avoid letting yourself get too hot, especially during the first trimester when your baby’s major organs are developing. Although there’s no proof of a danger to humans, some animal studies suggest that overheating can cause birth defects. Increased blood flow and a higher metabolic rate mean you’ll feel warmer than usual when you’re pregnant, and doubly so when you exercise. And since feeling warm is common in pregnancy, you may get overheated much faster than you normally would, even before your belly is big.
Signs of being overheated are largely individual, but pay attention if you’re sweating a lot, feel uncomfortably warm, or feel dizzy or short of breath. On hot and/or humid days, skip your workout or exercise indoors in a well-ventilated, air-conditioned room. Wear loose, non-binding clothing and drink plenty of water. To cool off quickly, stop exercising, take off layers, and change your environment: seek out air conditioning or step into a cool shower. Hydrating is key, too, so drink lots of water.
11. Get Up Slowly
As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts. That’s why it’s important to take great care when you change positions. Getting up too quickly can make you dizzy, and may cause you to lose your footing and fall.
12. Cool Down
At the end of your workout, take a few minutes to walk in place and then stretch. Heart rate increases during pregnancy and it may take as long as 15 minutes for your heart to return to its resting rate following a workout.