Exercise is important at all stages of life – including pregnancy. Exercising while pregnant can help prevent you from gaining more weight than recommended, improve overall comfort, mobility, and endurance. If you exercise while pregnant it can help the process of giving birth go more smoothly and make it easier to get back in shape after having a baby. Before you head off to the gym, however, there are a few things you need to know about working out while pregnant to make sure that you stay safe and avoid injury.
Your doctor needs to sign off on whatever workout routine you choose
The general rule when it comes to exercising while pregnant is that you can continue with your pre-pregnancy routine – with some modifications. If you are accustomed to lifting weights then it is likely that you can continue with strength training throughout your pregnancy. You can also start a new workout program while pregnant but need to choose a low-impact option. Starting a completely new style of working out is not typically recommended during pregnancy. If you were not doing any type of focused physical activity before pregnancy then something as simple as walking or swimming 30 minutes a day is a good option. But, before you do any type of strenuous physical activity while pregnant, you need to talk to your doctor. Discuss the workout routine you plan to do and get the sign off from your doctor. This will allow you to safely get the physical activity your body needs to support the coming changes.
Your center of gravity is shifting
As your belly grows during pregnancy, your center of gravity will begin to shift. As this happens, the way you stand, walk, and sleep will all change to accommodate your growing belly. It is important to keep this change in mind while working out. Pregnancy can put extra strain on your lower back, hips, and core so pay close attention to how those areas of your body feel as you exercise.
Hormones impact your joints and muscles
The hormones in your body go through major changes during pregnancy, labor, and after delivery. Some of the hormones that are designed to prepare your body for childbirth can impact it during your workouts. For example, the hormone relaxin starts to prepare your body for childbirth by loosening up your joints. Looser joints are a good thing in the delivery room but can put you at risk for injury in the weight room. When you workout during pregnancy it is important to focus on form and stability in order to accommodate any changes due to hormones.
Exercising while pregnant can provide you with the same long list of benefits that come with working out while you’re not pregnant. Exercising while pregnant can also help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy, easier delivery, and quicker post-partum recovery. Once you receive the all-clear from your doctor, continue on with the weight training plan you were following before pregnancy and add in any necessary modifications. If you were not already working out, find a low-impact option like walking or swimming to incorporate into your routine. You can learn more about exercising while pregnant, losing weight after delivery, and options for post-partum fitness on the Mind Pump Media blog.