Every newly expecting mother wants her pregnancy to go smoothly and deliver a strong healthy baby. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen to be the case for all pregnancies. However an expectant mother can increase her odds and improve the pregnancy experience by working out during pregnancy as long as she is safe about it.
Should you work out while pregnant?
This is one of those questions that has to have the final word come from your Obstetrician or Midwife. In general though, if you are in good health or have been regularly working out prior to becoming pregnant you should be fine to work out as long as you modify your exercise regimen to accommodate your growing baby and changing body. If you are just beginning to work out in order to improve your labor experience and the health of your baby you should take it slow. No matter if you are an experienced gym rat or just getting into working out you should meet with a professional pregnancy workout trainer to help you establish a safe routine.
Even after you have your doctor’s approval to work out, you will still need to keep a close eye on a few physical changes as you progress through your pregnancy. During pregnancy the same hormones that the body releases to expand the birthing canal also affect your joints. This makes it very easy to hyperextend knees, ankles, and other non-ball joints. Because of this every pregnant woman should be extra cautious when performing moves that could cause this to happen. If you feel your joints beginning to hyperextend at any time pull back on your movement and re-center your balance point.
Beyond hormones and over extending joints, it is important to listen to your body when doing any workout, especially when pregnant. Take note of any little chronic aches or sudden pains that arise and either alter or stop doing the motion that is triggering this pain, until you have consulted with your physician.
You should always use a non-slip mat when exercising to relieve pressure from impact on joints, as well as to avoid slipping on smooth surfaces. In addition your workout area should be free of clutter, and large enough that you will not bump into things.
Make sure your space has sufficient air flow to help keep your body temperature maintained. The last thing anyone wants is a pregnant woman collapsing from heat exhaustion. If you overheat easily position a fan in your workout space so that it will circulate the air better.
The clothing you wear during your workout should be flexible while not being baggy. Baggy clothes create a trip hazard. Wear athletic shoes with good arch support to support your growing frame as you work out.
Working out during pregnancy is a great way to shorten your labor time, improve your pregnancy and labor experiences, and reduce post labor recovery as well as minimize your baby’s health risks; as long as you have your doctor’s approval, and stay vigilant in your effort to be safe and use the proper form.