Healthy by Heather

Exercising While Pregnant #exercise #pregnancy #pregnantandcrossfitting #cantstopwontstop

fitness tips during pregnancy

Exercise and Pregnancy: What Expecting Moms Should Know

Are you pregnant and wanting to start or continue an exercise program? Maybe you’re in the preparation stage and planning on getting pregnant but want to be in good shape when it happens. The shape you’re in prior to becoming pregnant determines the level you’re able to workout at during your pregnancy.

Before I became pregnant I really didn’t know much about exercising with pregnancy. All I knew was I was going to keep it up when it happened to me. I knew that you can keep up with your regular routine and that at a certain point you couldn’t do exercises in the supine (laying on your back) position due to the chance of cutting off venous return (blood flow in the veins) to the heart. Ultimately decreasing oxygen supply to the baby. So I thought I would share a few tips on how to get started and what you can keep doing during pregnancy.

Consult with your physician before starting a routine. You want to make sure your body is up for the challenge and the baby won’t be at risk in any way. Also if you’re just getting started don’t be afraid to seek out a qualified personal trainer to help you along your journey.
If you’re a beginner, start with a walking program. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends moderate activity (30 Minutes) on most if not all days of the week. Beginners want to start with 10-15 minute increments in the beginning and work up to the recommended 30 minutes a day. Moderate exercise means you should be walking briskly and your heart rate should be elevated. With moderate exercise you should be able to keep a conversation with someone. So, if you find yourself out of breath slow it down a notch!

Already an avid exerciser? Keep up with your regular routine unless of course your regular routine is risky to yourself and your baby. Some examples of things to avoid would be water/snow skiing, contact sports, and rope climbing to name a few. Keep in mind as the months go by you will have to make adjustments to accommodate for the shift in body weight and balance issues that can arise. You may also need to decrease the amount of weight you’re lifting. This is especially true if you’re accustomed to olympic and power lifting. Pregnancy isn’t the time to find your 1rep max. You will also want to make sure your heart rate isn’t getting over 140bpm because this can decrease the oxygen flow to the baby.

Strength Training is key to keeping body fat down and muscle tone up. Besides the esthetic appeal, strength training should be specific to movements that you will be doing after you give birth. For example you’ll need to do bicep curls to strengthen your arms so you can carry your baby. Deadlifts and row machines will strengthen the back and help with all the bending over changing the baby and putting him/her in and out of the crib. Having proper form and strength when the baby comes is important to your health after.

Don’t forget to squat! Not only are squats great for keeping your legs looking nice and your butt lifted but they are important in maintaining muscular strength in your pelvic floor. So if you plan on delivering in the squatted position work on these moves. Try doing an air squat and holding it in the bottom position for 10-20 seconds then rest for 20 seconds and repeat. As holding for the amount of time becomes easier start increasing the time by 5-10 second increments.

Stretching during pregnancy. Stretching is integral to a well-rounded fitness program. It elongates the muscles, releases lactic acid build up (a bi-product of exercise), and can help decrease the severity of soreness later. Expecting moms need to be careful because during pregnancy the body starts producing relaxin. This is a chemical that makes the tendons and ligaments relax and stretch easily to allow the hips to move so the baby can come through during delivery. As the body stretches easier it makes moms to be more prone to sprains and strains. So during the second and third trimesters avoid exercises that change direction quickly (ex: clock lunges, agility drill).

Always listen to your body. If you are uncomfortable with an exercise or feel like something isn’t right, it’s probably not. Stop immediately. Also, be intuitive and know the warning signs of danger during pregnancy with exercise. According to www.mayoclinic.com you should stop exercise immediately if you experience dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, chest pain, uneven/rapid heartbeat, uterine contractions after rest, vaginal bleeding, leaking or gushing, and decreased fetal movement.

Over the next 9 months you will come across many different reactions to your exercising while pregnant. Just remember, listen to your doctors advice, decrease the amount of weight you’re accustomed to lifting as well as the intensity level. Most importantly, listen to your body!

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