A Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Exercising Safely
Like incorporating healthier foods into your diet, finding safe ways to exercise is a must throughout the duration of your pregnancy. Choosing adoption does not change the care of self that you should take. Being pregnant can often take a major toll on your body, and taking up a new exercise routine might be a bit of a challenge at first. However, exercise is an important part of keeping your body strong to support your pregnancy and maintain your baby’s growth and health.
According to fitness experts, a well-balanced exercise routine for the average person should consist of cardiorespiratory or aerobic activity, strength and flexibility training. Pregnant women should follow a similar pattern of exercising, but it should be significantly less strenuous than that of a normal person’s, as to not strain or cause yourself or your baby any harm.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant to be taken as official medical advice. Please consult with your doctor, nutritionist and OBGYN for any questions and concerns regarding your specific circumstances.
Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women
Cardiorespiratory Fitness or Aerobic Activity
Walking, Jogging or Running
When you’re pregnant, brisk walking, light jogging and/or running are all great ways for you to improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, build endurance, boost your immune system and reduce stress -- all of which will also make your baby healthier. Walking, especially, is crucial during your pregnancy, as it’s one of the least strenuous forms of exercise. If you’re interested in jogging or running more during your pregnancy, start by walking and then slowly increase your speed. It’s OK to push yourself a little, but don’t overdo it!
Another way to maintain excellent heart and respiratory health, specifically in your first two trimesters, is biking. If you enjoy biking, but are further along in your pregnancy, consider switching to a cycling machine at your local gym. As your body continues to grow, your center of gravity changes, which will make it more difficult for you to stay balanced on a bicycle, thus making a steady, cycling machine a wonderful alternative.
Swimming is often considered by doctors and fitness experts as one of the safest forms of exercise for pregnant women. During pregnancy, it’s easy to lose muscle quickly, however, swimming is a great way to keep your muscles strong and your body toned without adding any additional weight or putting any strain on those muscles or the joints found throughout your body. Vigorous swimming also increases your heart rate, keeping your cardiovascular (heart) and respiratory (lungs) systems strong, without causing you to overheat, since your body is cooler underwater.
Dancing is similar to walking, jogging and running in that you usually get the same benefits: improvement in blood circulation, a decrease in blood pressure, a healthier immune system, etc. Perhaps the greatest benefit of dancing is that it’s fun, making it the perfect way to reduce stress! Experiencing stress during pregnancy is extremely unhealthy for both you and the baby, which is why it’s important for you to find some sort of stress-relieving outlet, whether that’s dance or some other form of fitness!
During pregnancy, it’s important to avoid high-impact weight machines, though they’ve become an increasingly popular form of strength training. Instead, try free weights. Start with lighter weights, and, if you feel comfortable, slowly increase the amount. Numerous studies have been conducted in an attempt to determine exactly how much weight is safe for a pregnant woman to lift, but if you’re generally healthy, the consensus is about 30 pounds. Anything over 30 pounds isn’t recommended. When you’re pregnant, less is more in regard to any weight or strength training.
You can benefit greatly from using resistance bands throughout your pregnancy. Unlike free weights, resistance bands don’t add any additional weight, and instead use the weight of your own body to help you tone and strengthen the muscles of your body. Resistance bands are relatively inexpensive, and are also something you can do in the comfort of your own home if going to the gym isn’t for you. There are a plethora of resistance band workouts on the internet, all of which can be easily customized to focus on whatever areas of the body you choose to focus on!
Yoga, Pilates or Basic Stretching
Perhaps the easiest way to maintain your body’s flexibility during your pregnancy is by implementing some simple stretches into your daily routine, or by adding them to the end of a cardiorespiratory or strength training workout. Stretching is a great way to soothe sore muscles and joints after a challenging workout, or in general if your body is sore from simply being pregnant, which is common.
If you’re looking to take your flexibility training to the next level, you might benefit from a yoga or pilates class. Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular form of exercise for pregnant women, so it’s fairly easy to find classes designed for them, specifically. Like most exercises, yoga and pilates offer other benefits besides just stretching. Both are a great way to increase muscle tone and strength!
Paying Attention to Your Body: Knowing When it’s Time to Rest
As important as exercise is when you’re pregnant, you must be able to recognize when it’s time for you to take a break and relax a little. After all, you’re pregnant, and creating new life isn’t an easy feat! When you’re tired, don’t be afraid to close your eyes for a quick nap. If you’re still sore from a workout and stretching just didn’t cut it, break out the candles and epsom salt and draw yourself a nice, warm bubble bath. Feeling stressed? Schedule a facial or a massage (or both!), or get manicures and pedicures with a girlfriend.
Rest and relaxation is just as essential to your health and well-being when you’re pregnant, so feel free to embrace it!
If you are a birth parent considering adoption, and have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out. For more information on adoption, visit us at Adoption Choices of Florida or call us at: 800-985-8108