Hi there! Greetings and congratulations on your baby!
For this special period of your life, we have prepared a series of articles regarding pregnancy/post pregnancy workouts and nutrition. These articles will help you stay in shape, and maintain your baby’s health and definitely yours too.
Let’s talk about training during your pregnancy. Is it dangerous? How does it affect the baby? How intense can you go? Do you really need to stay away from any type of physical activity for 9 months?
Reaching the perfect body shape is a goal for many people. When the person reaches their visions, the next logical step is maintaining it for as long as possible.
Pregnancy is a wonderful thing, but once that time comes, every woman should accept the fact that they will no longer have that sexy, toned, flat belly (Well, at least for the next 9 months).
Many people think that during pregnancy, physical activity must be avoided, in order to protect the woman and her embryo.
But is there a way to maintain your shape during the 9 months of pregnancy?
Most common problems that women encounter during their pregnancy
- Back pain
- Low self-esteem/depression
- Air deficit
- Weight gain
These issues are sometimes a problem even after the birth. However, through workouts, some of them can be relieved.
Workouts can decrease the symptoms of nausea, back pain, exhaustion and weight gain. They will also grant you an emotional uplift and energy throughout the day.
Regular physical activity also releases endorphin – A hormone that decreases pain and lifts your mood.
Training during your pregnancy is linked to training before it. Meaning, if you’ve never worked out, then it’s probably not the best time to start doing it if you’re pregnant.
If you’ve never trained before, the workouts might lead to an undesired stress. However, you can do walking workouts 2-3 times a week, for 25-30 minutes, using a mildly intense pace.
Walking is one of the most natural movements, that certainly won’t stress out your organism.
Set your goals. These 9 months are not a period, during which you will achieve big progress in physical development, but rather maintain your shape. You can use weights to do your workouts, as well as aerobics.
Positive effects of workouts during pregnancy
- Better post-pregnancy recovery
- Reduced risk of lower back pain
- Higher energy levels
- Better mobility
- Better blood circulation
- Better muscle tone and coordination (which will help you deal with your significantly higher weight during the pregnancy)
- Avoiding constipation
- Uplifted mood
- Reduced risk of tendon/joint injury
- Bigger placenta, which grants better nutrition for the baby
What to avoid during pregnancy workouts?
- Training in hot and/or moist rooms
- Activities that put you at a danger of falling down
- Intense strains
Duration and intensity of the workouts
For untrained women, a 20-30-minute workout with a medium pace is safe.
Women who have previous training experience, before they were pregnant, and have no medical restrictions, can train for 40-60 minutes, using a moderate pace. NEVER train until failure, and ALWAYS warm up before your workout.
What types of workouts can you do during your pregnancy?
- Aerobics – Choose an aerobic exercise, that isn’t too exhausting for your body. AVOID activities that put you at a risk of falling down, as that could be fatal. Do the aerobic exercises at a heart rate of not more than 140 BPM. You don’t necessarily need to measure your pulse though, just workout at a pace that is moderate enough for you to be able to hold a conversation with your partner. Control your breathing and don’t reach a point of air insufficiency. Avoid extreme body temperatures, as that may lead to different anomalies during your birth giving.
- Swimming – this is one of the best exercises you can do during pregnancy. The body perfectly flows in the water, leading to a nice, relaxed feeling (you don’t feel the additional bodyweight), and there’s no strain on the joints and tendons. (During pregnancy, joints are weaker due to the changing hormonal levels)
- Walking – This is another perfect choice of exercise. Keep moderate pace. You can also try walking on a slight steep.
- Bicycle – Mandatorily, a static veloergometer (You don’t want to fall)
- Weight workouts – These workouts maintain the muscle tone, improve mobility and decrease the risk of injuries. However, stay away from attempts to set new personal records during this period, using heavier weights than usual. Never train until failure, so you won’t exhaust your musculature.
Important notes for weight exercises
- Completely avoid exercises, that require you to lay on your belly. After the 3-4th month, avoid exercises that require you to lay on your back as well, as the weight of your baby might interfere with the proper blood circulation.
- Avoid exercises that expose you to risk of falling down (squats, lunges) and use more machines, if you’re visiting a gym.
- Avoid abdominal exercises, as an injury in that area is the last thing you’d want during this period.
- Avoid heavy weights, as this might hinder your recovery.
- Rest when you feel the need to.
- Do not stop breathing during the exercise. If you do, you deprive your baby from oxygen.
Are workouts safe for the baby?
According to some, workouts can influence the thermoregulation of the mother, during her pregnancy. Even though researches have shown, that the human body has compensatory mechanisms (Strengthened thermoregulation of the body, and a stronger blood flow that fight that), be very careful when doing your workouts.
If you encounter the following symptoms, visit your doctor immediately:
- Back/hip pain
- Excessive exhaustion
- Insufficient oxygen
- Vaginal bleeding
- Difficulties walking
As you pay attention to the problems that incorrect workouts during your pregnancy may cause, also pay attention to the risks that the lack of physical activity may lead to: Loss of muscle tone, blood pressure issues, possibility of over-gaining weight, insomnia, back pain, bigger physiological stress, varicose veins.