For decades, pregnant women were advised to rest, take it easy and avoid any strenuous activity in the months leading up to the birth of their children.
While some women with medical issues are advised to stay off their feet and rest, many mothers-to-be are hitting the gym to stay in shape – which is good for them, and their babies.
At Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee, we offer prenatal Pilates and other programs for pregnant women to help them stay healthy and active as they prepare to give birth.
The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reports that simply sitting around while you are pregnant is not the best route for women to take, even if exercise has never been part of their lives.
Why should women exercise when pregnant? Here are some key reasons:
- Reduce or eliminate back pain and other aches and pains that come while pregnant.
- Improve your mood and boost your energy.
- Sleep longer and more soundly.
- Fight off weight gain.
- Bolster stamina and increase your muscle strength.
Exercising while pregnant can also cut the risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It also can help ward off symptoms of postpartum depression. Your unborn child also can benefit from your exercise regimen before he or she comes into the world by decreasing the chance your baby is born with larger than average size, known as fetal macrosomia. While exercising while pregnant is a positive move for many women, it can cause health problems for others and complicate pregnancies. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
Some health issues that may keep you from exercising while pregnant include:
- Lung or heart disease.
- High blood pressure related to your pregnancy.
- Cervical issues.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Early labor during prior pregnancy.
- Multiple pregnancy risk of preterm labor.
For most pregnant women, a moderate amount of exercise is fine, with a half hour workout recommended most days of the week. Walking is an easy and fun way to start because if offers a moderate aerobic workout and does not stress your joints. Other attractive workout choices are swimming, low-impact aerobics or riding a stationary bike. Lifting weights is fine – just stay away from the heavy numbers. Like everyone who exercises, warm up and cool down, and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. The Mayo Clinic offers guidelines for the various fitness levels
Depending on your fitness history, consider these guidelines:
If it’s been a good while since you have exercised, start slowly. Five minutes a day is fine to start. Increase that time to 10 minutes, then to 15 and so on as your body adjusts and becomes stronger.
Before you know it, you will be up to the half-hour mark. If you exercised prior to becoming pregnant, you can stay at your current workout level while pregnant. But if you don’t feel right at some point, stop and check with your doctor.
Nine months of pregnancy does not have to mean nine months of couch potato inactivity.
Contact Zero Gravity Fitness to learn how you can stay in shape for a smoother and happier pregnancy.