Should you exercise while pregnant? Should you stop all together? Is it safe? Will it hurt the baby? These are all common questions. Legitimate ones too, because your life changes in so many aspects, and you of course want the baby to be safe. So let’s talk a little about what you can and should do during pregnant.
Have you ever seen somebody that seems to gain very little weight during pregnancy? Or somebody that loses it quite quickly? Of course there are a lot of factors that go into this, including genetics, metabolism, etc., but activity level and diet also play a major role in how much weight you gain and how long it takes to get back to your pre pregnancy weight.
Don’t treat your pregnancy as a time that you can stop exercising, a time where you can eat as much as you want and be as lazy as you want. Give your baby the best possible start by nourishing your body with healthy foods, and by exercising.
Let’s look at three types of exercise you can do while pregnant.
- Yoga. Yoga, which is low impact, is a great way to get the blood flowing and get your heartrate up. Of course you will be limited to what you can do because of your size and belly, but just do the best you can. In fact, many gyms offer prenatal yoga classes that are perfect for pregnant women. The improved flexibility that comes along with yoga will help in your everyday activities as well.
- Aerobic. Of course the key to sticking to any exercise program is doing something that you enjoy. So, make sure that you choose an exercise that you like. Walking outdoors, getting on the elliptical, swimming, etc. Ideally those that are best are the ones that are low impact. One thing to note is that while pregnant you shouldn’t do high intensity training such as HIIT. I usually recommend for pregnant women to keep their heart rate around 120-140 beats, no higher. Of course there are many variables, but that is a good ballpark.
- Weight Training. Weightlifting for pregnant women. Crazy? Not so fast. If you were lifting weights when you became pregnant, I highly recommend continuing that. It will of course help keep your muscles strong, making your everyday activities easier. It also strengthens your bones. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of lifting weights throughout your pregnancy is that you will be able to recover faster after having your baby, this is because you will be stronger and healthier when you deliver the baby. Not only that, but if you take 9 months off from weight lifting, think about all the time that you could have been making progress, it you stop for nine months, it will take you a long time to make up that time that you stopped lifting weights.
You’ll want to avoid any exercises that place you on your stomach of course. Lift light to medium weights. Don’t lift heavy when pregnant. You aren’t trying to push yourself to the limit, you are just trying to stay healthy and keep the muscle that you have.
If you haven’t lifted weights before, I recommend checking with your doctor before seeing if you should start when pregnant. It isn’t something that I usually recommend.
In closing, don’t take the nine months ‘off’. For your benefit and for the benefit of the baby continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy (as recommended by your doctor). If nothing else, by doing so, you will have some time to yourself before the baby comes.
What do you think? What are your favorite ways to stay active while pregnant?