Exercise Do’s and Don’ts for Pregnant Women

Exercising during your pregnancy comes with a myriad of benefits: improved mental state during and after pregnancy (reduced chance of post-partum depression); eased stress, anxiety, and tension which lowers the risk of a premature birth; shorter push stages during labor and faster recovery post-delivery; reduction of daily symptoms such as bloating and constipation; and the list goes on. Not only does it help the mamas, but also creates a better growth process for the baby. Moms who exercise during pregnancy tend to have healthier placentas due to increased blood circulation, and babies with better heart rates, healthier weights, and reduced chance of fetal stress during labor. We want to help you and your baby receive as many health benefits as possible, so we’re here to walk you through some do’s and don’ts of exercise for pregnant women. But before we even get into the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy exercise, let’s just pause a moment to recognize everything your body has already gone through during this time, shall we? Your feet swell to monstrous proportions, you eat for two, you’re kicked daily… and nightly, your hair has grown to mermaid’s length (we can’t just point out all the bad stuff), you respond to ridiculous cravings at ungodly hours, and gosh darn it, how many times a day must one go to the bathroom just because she’s toting a tiny human inside of her? You are a champion, and so is your body. So let’s discuss ways that you can love your body through this sometimes tumultuous, but altogether beautiful time of becoming a mother. Do’s:
  1. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. The only exception? Sports bras – make sure you have good support for the girls, as they are working double time right now.
  2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  3. Keep the intensity light to regulate the blood pressure of you and your little one. Jillian Michaels suggests you use the “Talk Test,” which is this: If you can continue to carry on a conversation while exercising, you are at a safe intensity level. This rule may evolve throughout your pregnancy, as some weights and moves become increasingly taxing as your body changes.
  4. Daily movement for up to 30 minutes is recommended, even if it is not a deliberate workout in a gym setting. A walk through your neighborhood in the evening, or a weekend hike with friends or family is a great way to keep both your body and your baby happy and healthy.
  5. Opt for pilates, yoga, or swimming. These forms of exercise put a reduced amount of strain on your joints and body, and the water supports your added baby weight.
  6. Go easy on yourself. When something as simple as a household chore can be considered arduous, you should not be feeling the pressure to hit the gym that day. Rest is important, and knowing your limits is key to making it through the next nine months.
  7. Consult your doctor if you experience any pain, vaginal bleeding or leakage, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, preterm labor, or lack of kicking from your baby.
  1. Don’t do exercises that require you to lie on your back such as sit-ups after the first trimester, as this could put a strain on your spine and blood flow to your baby. Soibhan Dolan, OB GYN also suggests you avoid deep knee bends and toe touches.
  2. Don’t use heavy weights like you may have pre-pregnancy. Instead, opt for more reps with lighter weights.
  3. Don’t participate in contact sports such as soccer, volleyball, or basketball, or any sports where your risk of falling is greater, such as skiing or horseback riding.
  4. Don’t exercise to the point of exhaustion – know when enough is enough, and begin your cool-down process.
  5. If you’re beginning your exercise journey now that you’re pregnant, gradually ease into an exercise regimen. Now is not the time to pick up jogging.
  6. Don’t exercise during your pregnancy if you have the following conditions: pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm labor from a previous pregnancy, persistent bleeding, incompetent cervix, or chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.
There are additional exercises you can do that aren’t for your physical health, but specifically geared toward your peace of mind. For example, you and your partner can type up a birth plan so that when the time comes, you don’t have to repeat yourself between contractions and explain to every professional in the room what your birthing preferences are. This eliminates the need to do anything but deliver your baby on the big day. An educational exercise we strongly encourage – research newborn stem cell banking. For almost 20 years, AlphaCord has been a leader in cord blood cryopreservation (processing and storing cord blood, cord tissue, and now placenta). What better way to ensure peace of mind for your family’s future than banking your baby’s stem cells. Questions about private newborn stem cell preservation? Contact us today to speak with one of our experts and request a free information kit at 404-315-6500. Sources: https://www.jillianmichaels.com/blog/health-and-fitness/exercising-while-pregnant https://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/02/us/personal-health-exercising-safely-during-pregnancy.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LTj7FZ520k https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/exercises-for-pregnant-women THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.