Do’s & Don’ts Of Pregnancy Fitness
It is a widely accepted fact that regular exercise is great for your body. Not only it plays a major part in keeping you healthy but also good for the well-being of pregnant women.
Women who exercise while being pregnant will end up reducing their weight and will also have more rapid weight loss, get better sleep patterns and improve mood. Some studies showed that exercising can lead to reducing the induction rate and even faster labour.
Sometimes it might seem to you that everyone would have their own opinion regarding what you must do or don’t do while being pregnant. Keep in mind that it can be hard to separate the facts from the fiction.
If You Could Do the Pelvic Floor Exercise
You might not be able to view it and seriously you can feel it, however, the pelvic floor is a significant part of your body that must be worked out during pregnancy. Why? Let’s see.
Now you know that this is an exercise you need to do, and it will be easy to do too. However, the chances of you spending your morning train journey looking out of the window are more compared to doing the pelvic floor exercises.
Definition of Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is just a muscle and it is an important one too which controls your bowel, bladder, and uterus. So, in short, it prevents you from having any kind of small accidents. It also helps in keeping your unborn baby in the correct place of your stomach.
Need to Work on The Pelvic Floor
If you have a weak pelvic floor muscles, it would be tough for you to squeeze the sphincters (muscles) present right at the bottom of the bladder, which stops the pee from escaping. The common clue for having a weak pelvic floor would be when a little pee escapes when you are exercising or sneezing. Frankly, this would also be at the time when you are giving birth where you have no control over your bladder, and this even continues after giving birth.
In addition, the pelvic floor can affect your vaginal muscles, so this might make sex less interesting and satisfying for you. Most importantly, exercising the pelvic floor will make things turn to your favour.
Strong Pelvic Floor Means Easier Birth
Most women want to have an easy and safe birth as possible. Hence, doing the pelvic floor exercises on a regular basis during your pregnancy will provide the best chance of achieving it. Keep in mind that having a strong pelvic floor would reduce the second stages of labour (especially when you are pushing the baby out).
By doing such exercises on a regular basis while in the pregnancy stage will help in creating a healthy pregnancy. It will also support and encourage natural birth. The weight of the baby that you are carrying around during the pregnancy stage will be hard for you. However, if you have a strong pelvic floor, the muscles will assist you in supporting that extra weight.
Also, after birth, it will assist in healing the areas between the vagina and anus, thereby increasing blood circulation to it. Another major benefit is that women who have strong pelvic floor muscles will more likely end up in having orgasms while having sex.
Finding Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
● First Trimester
In this stage, you must be prepared for the energy drains. Most women conclude that they are pregnant after getting sore boobs and the frequent feelings of exhaustion and nausea. Well, if you are hitting the gym, then you can easily overcome such symptoms.
Many women who exercise regularly during their first trimester feel much better. They feel that it helps in boosting their mood as well as energy. Also, strength training along with a good amount of cardio and a lot of stretching will prepare your body for what is going to occur in the next nine months.
Maintaining A Healthy Diet
The biggest wives’ tale you might have heard during the pregnancy is that you are eating for two. Of course, you can have a bowl of ice cream if there is a craving for it, however, you still must consume healthy food.
It is perfectly fine if you can or plan to keep the exact level of activity that your body is conditioned. Hence, if you have been running or jogging, then go ahead and continue these activities. The same is the case, if you are lifting weights, go for it. Various things that appear later like changes in bowel movement, back pain, joint pain, etc are easily avoided or improved if you follow a good fitness regime.
● Second Trimester
Avoid putting pressure on your back. As the pregnancy progresses, your uterus will get larger and it will start to compress vessels present in your abdomen. Make sure that you don’t lie on your back. Frankly, this will lead to the extensive flow of the brain and make it dizzy and lightheaded. In an extreme case, you might lose your consciousness.
Avoid Doing Crunches
Just like you don’t want to utilize your core for getting up from the floor, in the same way, you won’t need to do crunches too. Both these exercises will increase the risk of getting diastasis recti which commonly occurs among pregnant women that is abdominal muscle splitting.
Unfortunately, this is something that can’t always be prevented. However, if you are avoiding any crunch-like motion, it might be good. Now if your doctor or gynaecologist confirms you are free from the abs-splitting, then go ahead and try the gentler core exercises like side plank and planks. These are something you can try during your first two trimesters.
Keep the Focus On Strength Training
Irrespective of whether you have much experience regarding strength training or not, if you can create resistance work into your daily exercise routine, it will lead to a healthier pregnancy. This is especially when you start to put on weight.
● Third Trimester
Here you must keep a watch on your balance. At this point, your belly will begin to grow and get bigger. Besides that, you won’t be able to see your toes that will end up affecting your balance.
As soon as your belly gets bigger, it will distribute the weight across your body and the centre of gravity will change. Avoid doing any kind of yoga poses or exercises that require some extra balance.
Sometimes your usual workouts might become difficult and you will get tired easily. By opting for low-impact swimming, you can start with a good form of exercise that will incorporate easily into your daily pregnancy routine which is in the third semester.
● Go for Walks
There might be certain women who would have to give up running early in the morning because of being pregnant. Of course, there are others who keep track of the mileage just before their due date. Here it depends on how the body is responding to the pregnancy.
Do & Don’ts
1) Take Medical Advice
Before you sign with any class or join any gym, make sure to check with your gynaecologist regarding the exercises that are safe for you. If there are complications in your pregnancy or you are expecting multiple births, then the recommended type and amount of exercise will differ from others. Plus, it will also depend on whether you are struggling to move up and down the stairs or training up for marathons during the pre-pregnancy stage.
2) Try to Adapt
If you prided on being an athlete before having a baby, then the time has come for you to slow down your routine. Well, you are pregnant now and you must take care of two people (one is you and the other one is your baby).
Most health experts feel that it is better if you can adapt your regime as the pregnancy progresses. During your second and third trimester, it is better if you don’t do any exercise that involves lying flat on your back as the baby’s weight will block the flow of the blood.
During your first trimester, you can continue doing higher impact exercises like aerobics and jogging. Keep in mind that you can continue doing this as long as it is something that you did while being pregnant. However, if you are new to exercising, then it is better if you do swimming or power walking rather than going for new exercises.
While in the second and third trimesters, it is advisable to go with non-impact exercises. The great options available are power walking, special pregnancy Pilates classes, aqua natal classes.
3) Avoid Holding Your Breath
Sometimes while doing mid-yoga poses, you might have to hold your breath without releasing it. If you are pregnant, this is not good. It will be dangerous for your baby and can place pressure on the pelvic floor. During exercise, you must follow the habit of focusing on deep and steady breathing. Try to breathe in so that your stomach falls and rises, and not your chest.
4) Strengthen Your Core
Most doctors feel that it is great if you can toughen your core. This will support your spine and help in the growth of your baby. Try to do deep exercise for this.
Also, you must try to focus on building your back, chest, biceps, and shoulders gently. You would need strength in those areas as you would have to pick the baby up when he or she is born. A true mommy training.
5) Avoid Lying on Your Back
Now it is fine if you are doing exercise while lying on your back especially during the first part of your pregnancy. Once you reach the 16 weeks mark, it is better to avoid it. In this stage, the weight of the baby will put pressure on your spine as well as on the vena cava blood vessel that carries oxygen to your heart. It is better if you go for exercise classes run by qualified teachers in postnatal fitness.
6) Be Hydrated
Make sure you drink water before, during and after exercising. As you know water has all the necessary nutrients and carries it to your baby through your blood. This helps in preventing various common pregnancy issues like constipation and haemorrhoids as well as prevents dehydration.
Rather than gulping up the water, try to sip and drink water every half an hour while you are exercising. It is recommended that you have at least one glass of water before and after exercising.
7) Avoid High Impact Sports
Of course, it is important to have a good level of fitness during pregnancy, but there are certain sports you must avoid. Various contact sports like judo, kickboxing, and squash must be avoided until the baby arrives. Try to go for gentle workouts like power walking and jogging. You can even sign up for professional pregnancy fitness classes too.
8) Never Overdo Exercises
Sometimes you might feel overworked or overtired. In that case, you can reduce the amount of time you are doing the exercise each day. Also, you can do low-impact exercises like yoga, walking, and swimming.
As you start to get bigger, you might start to have difficulty in breathing. Most doctors recommend that you should not work through such a feeling. A good rule would be to make sure that you are able to talk while exercising.
Enjoy Safe Childbirth
Exercising while being pregnant is great for you as well as your baby. However, it is better if you check out with your gynaecologist before you plan or start any exercise Do things at a comfortable pace. Seek out professionals who are trained in pre- and post-natal exercises to help you with your routine. Safety should be right at the top in such situations. Enjoy the journey and the new bundle of joy to the family. Embrace motherhood.