Can I Exercise During My Pregnancy?
Newly expectant moms often worry if it’s safe to work out when they’re pregnant. And here at Momcozy, we’re happy to answer that for most women it’s a firm YES!
Long gone are the days when mothers-to-be would be treated like they were made of eggshells. Modern scientific research shows that unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your maternity team, exercise is a great way to support your and your baby’s health.
How Do You Exercise During Pregnancy?
The healthier and fitter you are, the better you’ll be able to cope with the changes to your body during pregnancy. It could also help you during labor too.
If you’ve already got a fitness routine you love, stick with it! In the early days of your pregnancy, it’s totally fine to continue your normal sports activities – with a few exceptions. You may have to modify your schedule as your pregnancy progresses, though, depending on what activity you love.
And don’t worry if exercise has never been a big part of your life. You can use your “bun in the oven” as a kick starter for better health. Providing you start slowly and build up your fitness levels mindfully, being pregnant is not a barrier to getting fitter.
Top Exercises For A Better Pregnancy & Birth
Everyone’s body is different and every pregnancy is different. That’s why it’s always best to run your chosen exercise past your maternity team. They will advise you on what’s going to work (or not) for you.
Walking & Running
The best thing about walking is it’s free! Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into your daily life and it’s low impact. Walking is not only the most accessible activity for most women but it promotes better heart health, reduces the risk of diabetes, and reduces your BMI which can help ease the birth.
If you’re already a runner, there’s no reason to interrupt your routine in the early stages of your pregnancy. After 16 weeks, though, you may want to consider reducing the pace of your running or choosing off-road routes to avoid the added impact on your joints.
Swimming & Aqua Aerobics
If you’re having problems with aching joints or muscle stiffness, swimming can take a load off– literally. Your natural buoyancy in water will support you while you pick up the pace and get that heart pumping.
Aqua Aerobics or Water Workouts are also a great way to increase your cardio if you are starting on your fitness journey. Your body will be supported but you’ll still reap the same health benefits as many other forms of cardio fitness.
Strength training is a great supplementary activity to balance out your cardio. It’s also a fantastic choice if your mobility is restricted.
Providing you avoid really heavy weights and get advice from an instructor, you’ll build muscle and increase your bone strength while you lift. You’ll also get a “lift” in your spirits as see your body become more toned and strong.
Yoga & Pilates
Yoga and Pilates work on supporting your tummy and pelvis – two areas to strengthen for a potentially better birth and quicker post-natal recovery.
Some positions should be avoided – those where laying on your stomach is required but your instructor can suggest a safer position. But any exercise that involves pelvic floor, pelvic tilt, or stomach strengthening could help you carry the increasing weight of your pregnancy, reduce incontinence or constipation, and assist with digestion.
Exercise During Pregnancy: The Benefits
The list of reasons why you should exercise during pregnancy is endless. But we’ve picked out the most beneficial aspects of maintaining a healthy exercise schedule as you prepare for your baby to arrive.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body, Healthy Baby
We are all aware of the studies linking well-being with fitness. Incorporating fitness into your daily life is one of the best ways to increase your life expectancy. And by keeping your body healthy, you’ll be achieving positive mental health too.
If your body and mind are at ease, your baby is likely to be calmer and healthier as a result.
By engaging in exercise, you’ll reap the rewards of potentially reducing your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, varicose veins, swelling in the ankles and feet, and a reduction in back pain.
And by reducing these health risks and improving your general fitness levels your body will be in better shape to deal with the rigors of birthing your child.
Sleep Well, Mom
As well as improving your mood, and potentially reducing anxiety, it’s possible you’ll sleep better too.
We’re often told that sleep is the best medicine and it’s not far from the truth. Our brains produce new synapsis during sleep or repair broken ones. Meaning that sleep helps your brain stay sharp so you can enjoy every minute of your pregnancy and the birth of your child.
To ease yourself into blissful sleep you might want to check out Mom Cozy’s range of Maternity Body Pillows. They’re great for supporting your body as you fall into restorative sleep.
What Exercises or Sporting Activities Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?
A safe pregnancy comes before your fitness regime. And there are certain adaptations you may have to make to your exercise schedule along the way.
And it main seem a no-brainer, but there are a few sports that you may have to suspend until after your baby is born.
Scuba Diving & Climbing – Your unborn baby won’t cope with extreme heights or depths, so don’t go scuba diving or climb at heights above 8,000 ft.
This way you’ll avoid the considerable risks of gas embolism or altitude sickness – neither of which your baby has protection against.
Contact Sports – Any activity where you may be kicked or hit should be avoided. Kickboxing or hand-to-hand combat sports should be suspended during your pregnancy.
You should also avoid sports where you could take a hit from equipment arriving at high velocities, such as tennis or football. You can still take part in any non-contact aspects of your training for these sports, though.
Extreme Sports – Skiing, horseback riding, ice skating, and certain cycling activities should be undertaken with extreme care or preferably avoided during your pregnancy.
The risk of birth complications is greatly increased by any activity that could mean a fall from height or at speed.
Exercise is not the answer for all pregnant women. You must always ask your medical team if your pregnancy and personal health will allow you to start or continue with an activity.
But for most women, staying active during your pregnancy is a must! Being fit and healthy can help you gain strength and stamina for your birth. And it can also help you maintain a positive mindset so that you enjoy every moment of this unforgettable time in your life.