Keeping fit during pregnancy is a controversial topic – while some suggest that it is an important activity that shouldn’t be overlooked, many women will choose not to do any exercise as soon as they find out they are pregnant because they worry that it can adversely affect their baby and make pregnancy more difficult. Nothing is further from the truth. Research has shown that one of the best things that you can do for yourself – and your baby – is to stay fit throughout your pregnancy. According to experts, you should get between 20 and 30 minutes of exercise each day when you are pregnant, and here is why:
- It will help keep your energy levels up. Even for the healthiest women, pregnancy is an energy-sapping time – you are nourishing a growing child who has a lot of demands. This often leads to feelings of lethargy and you may have a hard time keeping up with your normal schedule. Keeping fit will help you feel energized throughout.
- You will be able to sleep better – whether you are pregnant or not one of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you are able to sleep better. In the later months of pregnancy getting a good night’s sleep can be especially challenging – not only do you have to wake up often to tinkle, you also have a hard time finding a comfortable position to sleep in. If, however, you work out every day you will find that you are able to sleep much better.
- If you are particularly concerned about problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia research has shown that keeping fit can go a long way in reducing their risks. Each time you work out you improve your blood circulation which provides better nutrition for both you and baby and strengthens your uterus. It also helps lower your blood sugar levels which combats the risk of preeclampsia.
- One of the most common complaints amongst pregnant women is physical discomfort – they suffer aches and pains and they never seem to feel completely comfortable. One way to fight this is to get some exercise done every day. Simple stretches will prime your muscles and prepare them for the additional weight that you gain every day.
Top tips for exercising when you are pregnant
The most important thing you can do is make sure that you work out in an environment where you are comfortable. As you look at women’s fitness centres you should find out whether they have trainers who work with expectant mothers. They should have the right training and the gym should have proper equipment. Here are additional tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you talk to your doctor about working out during pregnancy before you get started. He or she may have concerns about how daily workouts may affect you or your baby. For most healthy women, however, exercise during pregnancy doesn’t come with any risks.
- Keeping fit during pregnancy is about more than working out for a few minutes every day. You should make sure that you eat a balanced diet and get plenty of hydration. It helps if you can find a women’s gym that has trainers who are trained to work with pregnant women.
- Exercising your pelvic floor is very important – it helps for an easier birth and prevents problems like post-natal incontinence. There are many exercises that you can use to make your pelvic floor stronger and you can see them on videos online.
- Some days you will feel tired and may not want to exercise. It helps if you have a work-out friend who can encourage you to get your half hour workout on such days. A good trainer will also find different ways to help keep you motivated.
- An experienced trainer will come up with a variety of exercises to keep things interesting. Feel free to contribute if there are any regimens you would like added.
If you feel any kind of discomfort, and there is cause for concern about your workouts during pregnancy you should see your doctor right away.