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Being Active during Pregnancy



 

During pregnancy, exercise is still important. A person who exercises regularly during pregnancy may also decrease their chance of needing a cesarean delivery, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).


Regular exercise is linked to a wide range of health benefits for pregnant people including reduced stress and anxiety, faster childbirth, reduced risk of constipation and back pain, and improved ability to maintain a moderate weight during and after pregnancy.


Low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming may be beneficial during early pregnancy or in the first trimester. Aerobic, or cardio, exercise tends to be the most beneficial. This type of exercise requires the heart to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles that are in use. It also involves the use of large muscle groups, such as the legs, for sustained periods.

 

Ideally, 150 min per week is performed. This can be broken into smaller sessions- for example, 30 minutes per day for five days each week. If one is beginning an exercise program, one can begin with as little as 5 minutes a day and then add 5 to 10 minutes each week.

 

Further, after rhythm has been built, some slightly more vigorous exercises may also be appropriate in the first trimester. Examples of these include running, jogging, and moderate weightlifting.

 

FIRST TRIMESTER

During the first trimester of pregnancy, people should aim to establish good exercise habits gradually. The right amount of exercise for an individual will depend on how active they were before becoming pregnant. That being said, it might be better to build a prior healthy exercising habit.

 

It is best to start with low-impact exercises — especially walking, yoga, swimming, and water aerobics — during this time.

 

Some slightly more vigorous exercises may also be appropriate in the first trimester. Examples of these include running, jogging, and moderate weightlifting.

 

Below are the best exercises during early pregnancy:

-       Kegels

-       Walking & Jogging

-       Swimming & Water Aerobics

-       Yoga

-       Pilates

- Low-intensity weight training

-       Spin classes

 

The Risk of Miscarriage During Early Pregnancy

Although exercise is allowed to be done, please remember to always be mindful because any form of exercise may be harmful if it:

-       places too much pressure on the uterus and fetus

-       puts excessive strain on the joints, muscles, and bones

-       leads to overheating

-       causes dehydration

 

Putting too much effort into your body can cause complications such as bleeding and preterm labor. When the core temperature of a person in the first trimester exceeds 38.9°C for longer than 10 minutes, they are overheating. Researchers have linked this with problems with fetal development.

 

SECOND TRIMESTER

The second trimester is known as the most enjoyable trimester. This is the time when many mums-to-be start to feel relieved and are finally feeling better. At this stage, your morning sickness and fatigue are likely to have decreased, giving you the energy to do more.

 

Jogging can still be done in the early second trimester all the way up till weeks 22 – 24. Although it is safe to be jogging slowly after 24 weeks gestation, it does get more challenging because of the bigger tummy. Exercises that involve lying on your back for extended periods should be minimized, as they may place a strain on your body as your belly gets bigger and heavier.

 

Below are the exercises that are safe for the second trimester:

-       Hip flexor and quadriceps flexes

-       Incline pull-ups

-       Mermaid stretches

-       Side-lying leg lifts

-       Prenatal yoga

-       Brisk walking with weights

-       Swimming and water aerobics

 

THIRD TRIMESTER

Your third trimester starts at week 27 and ends when your baby is born. Some of the most uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms develop during this time. Exercise can help relieve pregnancy discomfort, and you have lots of options when it comes to exercising in the third trimester. Always get clearance from your doctor first, and consider these tips:

 

-       Choose low-impact cardio activities such as walking, swimming, and cycling. These are all low-impact aerobic activities that are safe for most pregnant women. Jogging and running are fine for some women, especially if you’ve received clearance from your doctor and you’ve been doing those activities throughout your pregnancy.

-       Focus on strength training as it tones your body. It does not have to involve heavy weights or intense exertion to deliver results. Try prenatal yoga or Pilates for low-impact exercise that strengthens your core and pelvic floor muscles.

-       Do not forget to take frequent breaks. When you’re exercising in your third trimester of pregnancy, it is important to listen to your body. Exercising should feel good, and late-stage pregnancy is not the time to start an intense, rigorous workout routine.

-       Remember that exercising for three 10-minute intervals is just as good as exercising for 30 consecutive minutes, and breaking up your workout can help you manage fatigue. If you notice symptoms like overheating, shortness of breath, dizziness, or pain, stop what you’re doing and rest.

 

PRE-PREGNANCY FITNESS TRAINING: How To Prepare Your Body For A Healthy Pregnancy

 

Aside from the three trimesters, we need to remember that there is also pre-pregnancy fitness training.

Fit Parents, Fit Baby: engaging in pre-pregnancy workouts is a proactive way to care for yourself and your baby. These workouts help you maintain your physical fitness, prepare your body for pregnancy, and provide a solid foundation for a healthy and fulfilling pregnancy journey.


Engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy not only benefits the mother but also plays a significant role in the development of the baby. The positive effects of exercise on the baby’s growth and well-being are remarkable and have long-lasting implications: enhanced oxygen and nutrient supply, healthy weight & metabolism, improved brain development, reduced risk of gestational diabetes, stress reduction & emotional well-being.


 

References:

 

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