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Exercising While Pregnant, Should I?

Exercise during pregnancy

Exercising While Pregnant: Should I Do It?

Did you know that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(1) recommends at least 30 minutes of daily exercise while pregnant?  Unless you suffer from certain complications, you should always exercise during your pregnancy, for your health AND your baby’s. 

What are the benefits of exercising while I’m pregnant?

So why is it so important?  All of the following are proven benefits of staying active during pregnancy:

  • More energy
    • Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system which prevents you from tiring easily.
  • Better sleep
  • Lowered risk of preeclampsia
    • Preeclampsia, a pregnancy condition, is the number 1 cause of premature birth.
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Shorter labor (2)
  • Increased stamina, determination and focus
    • These things are very helpful during childbirth. 
  • Reduced stress and improved mood
    • Exercise produces serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical
  • Less constipation
  • Less swelling
  • Healthier cardiovascular system in your baby
  • Less chance of postpartum depression
    • Especially true if you exercise outdoors
  • Boosted immune system
  • Quicker weight loss after giving birth

 

Is exercising while I’m pregnant safe for my growing baby and me?

In most cases, yes! Certain medical conditions, however, may make it risky.  Always check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. A general rule of thumb is that if you were active before pregnancy, you can safely remain active during pregnancy.

Exercise is safe for the baby, too. Don’t forget that your baby is nestled in the uterus, surrounded with amniotic fluid and protected by your internal organs, muscles and skin.  He or she is very safe. 

 

Safety Guidelines:

  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after a workout.
  • Wear a supportive bra and loose clothing.
  • Avoid exercises that involve jumping, bouncing, or falling
  • Do not exercise to the point of exhaustion
  • After completing floor exercises, get up slowly to prevent dizziness
  • Wait at least an hour after eating to begin exercise.

 

Safest Exercises: 

The safest exercises during pregnancy have the smallest risk of injury or joint strain. Some examples of these are power-walking, swimming, indoor cycling, and using an elliptical machine. Always begin and end a workout with stretching.  Lastly, make sure to include a five minute warm-up and cool-down in your routine.

 

Discomfort During Exercise:

Exercising while pregnant can feel completely different than exercising before.  You may notice increased flexibility due to the production of the hormone relaxin.  In addition, your growing belly could mess with your balance or put pressure on your body.  Wearing a pregnancy support band can help alleviate these aches and pains.  The Babybellyband by CABEA Orthopedic Designs is both supportive and comfortable, immediately relieving back, abdominal or round ligament pain.  The add-on shoulder straps provide even more more lift.  Together, the two can act as a “sports bra” for your pregnant tummy.  During exercise, try the Babybellyband Sport.  Its lightweight, breathable material helps you stay cool while remaining supported.

Sources:

  1. American College of Ob/Gyns Exercise recommendations during pregnancy https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy
  2.  1990 Dec;163(6 Pt 1):1799-805. Clapp, JF,3rd ,The course of labor after endurance exercise during pregnancy.

Babybellyband Ab Band and Shoulder Straps Good for Exercising While Pregnant


Caroline Christensen, M.Ed

Founder & Designer of Babybellyband Maternity Support Wear - pelvic health products for women and men experiencing discomfort caused by pregnancy, hernia, lymphedema or prolapse. Designed, patented & trademarked Babybellyband® products by CABEA® University of Massachusetts Amherst B.S. Exercise Science - Caridac Rehab, Kinesiology University of Massachusetts Amherst M. Ed Science Education Member: American College of Nurse Midwives

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