Prenatal fitness has gained huge popularity over the past few decades. More and more women are starting a workout routine or trying new activities while pregnant. With a few exceptions, most exercises are safe for moms-to-be. As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to avoid activities that require jumping, sudden stops, or rapid changes in direction. Here are some things you should know about exercising safely during pregnancy:
What Forms of Exercise Are Safe for Future Moms?
Most women start working out in the second trimester of pregnancy, when the nausea and extreme fatigue of the first trimester have passed. Those who’ve never exercised before should begin with 15 minutes of light aerobic activity three times a week, increasing gradually to longer sessions four times a week. If you have pregnancy-related concerns or complications, seek advice from your doctor prior to starting a workout routine.
During pregnancy, future moms should strive to maintain a healthy fitness level rather than chasing performance. This applies to all forms of exercise, including cardio, strength training, stretching, and sports activities. About 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise are enough for most women during pregnancy.
A well-planned workout program can improve your mood, prevent gestational diabetes, boost your energy, and relieve back pain. It can also help you sleep better, keep fit, and get rid of bloating. Make sure you choose safe exercises, such as:
• Weight training
When working out, your body temperature should not exceed 38 degrees Celsius. Drink water before, during, and after exercise to replace the fluids lost.
Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
Even though most forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy, certain activities should be avoided. Some carry a greater risk of falls, while others may cause abdominal injury or miscarriage. Future moms should avoid ice skating, snowboarding, downhill skiing, bungee jumping, scuba diving, contact sports, racquet sports, and gymnastics. The list can also include:
• Exercises that involve lying on your back or belly
• Double leg lifts, sit-ups, and hanging leg raises
• Excessive stretching
• Hot yoga
• Activities that may cause loss of balance and fetal trauma
• Heavy lifting
• Hot-air ballooning
As long as you stick to these rules, you can keep working out during pregnancy. Always choose well-ventilated areas to prevent overheating, warm up before exercise, and combine pelvic floor work with strength training and cardio. In addition to your regular workouts, do kegels daily to prepare your body for labor.