Pregnancy is hard! Our bodies go through so much. Our babies need so much and take so much from our bodies as they grow. We need to be at our best to give baby our best. It’s so hard to know what to do for every situation and what will work. Every person is different and what works for me may not work for you. But one thing that remains constant….we need to take care of ourselves. Exercise is so good for your body (and not just when you are pregnant). But knowing the benefits or risks involved is something equally important when you are pregnant.
Benefits of Exercise
We all know that exercise helps keep you generally healthy but there are some extra benefits when you are pregnant that help some of the more commons problems that creep up when you are pregnant. One of the biggest things I struggled with when I was pregnant was being tired. ALL. THE. TIME. It was ridiculous. But regular exercise can actually help you feel more rested and give you a better night’s sleep.
Exercising when you are pregnant helps improve blood circulation which helps things like constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, leg cramps, swelling etc. It also strengthens those muscles that you need to support the extra baby weight. And the best part…exercise will help improve your mood and help give you the endurance to get through labor and delivery while keeping that baby weight at a manageable level. Now only if it could take the pain away too. LOL
Last thing I want to mention, and this one is a big one, is that studies show that even minimal exercise can help prevent depression and anxiety!! Both of those things are the number one cause of mental illness related complications from childbirth.
Watch Out For…
As amazing as exercise can be for our bodies there are a few things you need to be aware of when exercising when you are pregnant. The biggest one being when you work out blood flows strongly to all of your organs and exercising too strenuously can take too much blood flow from your uterus that your baby needs. So make sure you take it easy.
Falling is such a huge concern for so many reasons. But it is something that can happen as you move around with the extra weight that pregnancy brings. It really causes your center of gravity to move and shift. So be careful and consider your steps and what you are doing carefully.
The last thing I want to mention is to watch your body temperature. Exercising can cause overheating (which could lead to dehydration) and that can be dangerous to your baby, especially in your first trimester. Many doctors recommend that your body temperature not exceed 101/102 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel yourself getting too overheated stop, cool down and get some water.
What to Do
Knowing which exercises are safe or not safe is always tricky as each mama-to-be is different and has different levels of fitness when they become pregnant. I am not a doctor, these are just some things I have learned.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE STARTING OR CONTINUING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM.
Just getting started with activities like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga etc. can be good choices. Another option are classes that are designed for pregnant mamas like the ones offered by my good friend, Katy, who owns Fit4Mom Issaquah Sammamish Snoqualmie Ridge. She offers Fit4Baby classes that are taught by certified prenatal instructors. And the best part is these gals are moms too so they get it. If you are not local to me then check out your local Fit4Mom to find some classes near you.
The most important thing, though, is to do what is best for you and your growing baby. Find something that works for you and get out there and take care of yourself. (And don’t forget to check with your OB or Midwife) You deserve it!
It’s never too early to book your maternity and newborn session. Contact me now to schedule your session.