Exercise during pregnancy: Answers to FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about exercise during pregnancy.
Is it safe for me to exercise during pregnancy?
Yes! If you are a healthy individual who is having a smooth pregnancy, it is extremely safe for you to exercise during pregnancy.
In fact, maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best.
Besides improving your posture and decreasing some common discomforts such as backaches and fatigue, physical activity may also prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, decrease labor time and build more stamina needed for labor and delivery.
Who should not exercise?
If you have a medical condition like asthma, heart disease or diabetes, exercise during pregnancy may not be advisable. It may also be harmful if you have a pregnancy-related condition such as:
- Bleeding or spotting
- Low-lying placenta
- Threatened or recurrent miscarriage
- Previous premature births or history of early labor
- Weak cervix
How often should I exercise?
If you are just about to start an exercise program as a way of being healthier during your pregnancy, you should start out very slowly. Take great care not to overexert yourself.
Aim for a 20-minute workout program, 2 to 3 times a week. Take note though that it's always best to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
What types of exercise are best when I'm pregnant?
Moms love low-impact aerobics
The safest and most effective activities are swimming, brisk walking, dancing, indoor stationary cycling, yoga and low-impact aerobics (best if it is taught by a certified aerobics instructor).
These activities pose little risk of injury and have an effect on your entire body. You can also continue doing them until birth.
What should I be careful about?
Try not to perform any activities that make you prone to falls or injury, e.g. high-impact sports like soccer or hockey. Even mild injuries to your abdominal area can be serious when you're expecting.
After the first 3 months of pregnancy, it's best to avoid exercising while lying on your back, as the weight of your baby might interfere with blood circulation. Also, you'd do well to avoid long periods of standing after your first trimester.
Because of our hot weather, it would be best to schedule your exercise in the early morning or late evening to prevent you from getting overheated.
If you plan to exercise indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated. You might want to use a fan to help keep yourself cool too.
Also, remember to drink plenty of fluids, even if you don't feel thirsty. Pregnant moms need to be well-hydrated!
As your pregnancy progresses, reduce the intensity level of your exercise routine or fitness program. Take note that even if you are exercising less intensely, the actual level of what you are doing is more difficult due to the added weight of your baby.
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