Exercise & Stretching During Pregnancy
General Exercise Guidelines for Pregnant Women
• Check with your health care provider before you begin exercising.
• Exercise at a comfortable level at which you can maintain a conversation.
• See your health care provider if you experience bleeding, a large amount of discharge, or swelling in your face and hands.
• Avoid lying on your back (supine position) after the first trimester.
• Avoid straining or stretching to the point of discomfort.
• Avoid fatigue and overtraining.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
• Exercise does wonders during pregnancy.
- It boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces pregnancy aches and pains.
- It helps prevent and treat gestational diabetes and may keep preeclampsia at bay.
- It prepares you for childbirth by strengthening musclesand building endurance.
- It makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.
• The ideal workout gets your heart pumping, keeps you limber, manages weight gain, and prepares your muscles without causing undue physical stress for you or the baby
• Most exercises are safe to perform during pregnancy, as long as you exercise with caution and do not overdo it.
• Perform 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.
• Low-impact activities are favored for reducing injury risk and continuing the exercise program throughout pregnancy.
• If running was part of your regular exercise routine prior to becoming pregnant, you should be able to continue with this exercise. If it becomes uncomfortable, choose a lower impact exercise instead.
What About Weight-training?
• If weight training is already part of your exercise routine, there's no reason to stop, although most women should reduce the amount of weight they're lifting (you can do more repetitions to ensure that you're still getting a good workout).
• If you take the necessary precautions and use good technique (meaning slow, controlled movements), weight training is a great way to tone and strengthen your muscles.
• If you weren’t strength training regularly prior to becoming pregnant, it’s probably best not to start an intense program.
Stretching During Pregnancy
• Stretching is important to maintain flexibility and to ease the stress and strain on joints that accompany pregnancy.
• When muscles are relaxed and flexible, they can handle the weight more comfortably and safely.
• Hold each stretch to a point of mild tension for a minimum of 10 seconds, then release.
• Don’t bounce.
• Breathe throughout each stretch.
• Stretch DAILY. It’s best to stretch at the end of your exercise routine so your muscles are warm and flexible.