Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Exercise Tips Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

March 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Staying physically fit throughout your pregnancy is important not only for your health, but also the health of your baby. You may already be eating for two, but before you begin exercising for two, there are a few things you should know. The following helpful tips come from experienced professionals who know just how difficult it can be to stay in shape while waiting on the arrival of a little one.

Use Modifications

Although exercise may begin to become a little more difficult in the beginning stages of pregnancy, the third trimester is where things really get tricky. It is perfectly acceptable to continue your exercise routine throughout the final stages of pregnancy, but you may have to modify a few moves to accommodate your larger abdomen and looser joints.

Lynn Goff, a sports medicine coordinator at a New York-based physical therapy center states that modifications should be used any time you feel that you are straining to perform a move. She also advises to reduce the intensity of your workout if you can’t carry on a conversation while working out. Over exerting yourself during exercise can lead to excessive fatigue and become more detrimental than helpful.

Don’t Lie Down

During pregnancy, it is easy to determine when you should stop doing exercises that require you to lie on your stomach. Figuring out when to stop performing moves on your back is a little more difficult. Julie M. Levitt, a Chicago-based ob-gyn states that pregnant women should stop performing exercises on their back after the first trimester.

A major blood vessel known as the vena cava can be compressed by an enlarged uterus, causing heart palpitations and even fainting. Because this vessel is responsible for delivering blood to the lower part of your body, blood flow to the fetus can be comprised if it is constricted. Almost all muscles that can be trained by lying down, can also be trained in a sitting or standing position.

Exercising Will Get Harder

Goff states that because your center of gravity changes as pregnancy progresses, you will become fatigued more quickly and and get winded faster. Aside from a shifting center of gravity, a growing fetus will place extra pressure on your internal organs. This will lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom to urinate and less room for the lungs to expand. Cutting back on the intensity of your exercise routine is a good idea to avoid over-exertion.

Working Out Will Not Induce Labor

It is a common myth that working out during the later stages of pregnancy will trigger labor. Although exercise will not stimulate the actual labor process, it may trigger contractions that are not labor related. This is caused by blood being drawn back to the uterus as it enters the muscles. This blood flow exchange can cause muscle to cramp, mimicking labor. If you should happen to experience these cramps, stop exercising for 5 to 10 minutes and they should subside.

Exercising during pregnancy can be difficult, but not impossible. By following the above guidelines, you can stay in optimal physical condition safely.

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Frank Salvatore