Physical activity is very crucial during pregnancy as it helps to prevent pregnancy complications and enhances easy delivery of a healthy baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women who do not experience complications during pregnancy should be encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength conditioning exercise before, throughout and after pregnancy.
In today’s article will be talking about the the importance of exercise and the guidelines for healthy physical activities during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a life-changing experience and a lot have to be put in place to ensure the health of the mother and save delivery of a healthy baby.
Maintaining healthy diet, reducing obesity, avoiding illicit drugs and use of tobacco are important ways of preventing complications during pregnancy. However, engaging in physical exercise is also very crucial during pregnancy and several studies have linked exercise to regulations of blood sugar during pregnancy.
Is it okay to engage in physical exercise during pregnancy?
Exercise is incredibly safe when you are pregnant especially when you do not have any pregnancy complications. Engaging in moderate intensity exercises when you are pregnant helps to prevent complications such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm delivery and ensures healthy weight and easy delivery of the baby. Exercise does not increase your risk of low birth weight and miscarriage. However it is important to see your healthcare provider so that they can recommend the best exercise to you in other to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
What are the conditions that make exercise dangerous during pregnancy?
If you have the following health condition it is advisable that you should not engage in any physical exercise to prevent pregnancy complications:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Placenta previa during the third trimester of pregnancy (27weeks – 40weeks)
- Lung disease
- Weak cervix
- A medical history of preterm delivery
How long should physical activities last during pregnancy?
Physical Activities Guidelines for American 2nd edition recommends that pregnant or postpartum women should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. Aerobic exercise helps to lower the risk of health conditions such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
To make things easier and convenient you can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute exercise for 5 days in a week.
If you are not used to vigorous exercises you can start with 5 or 7 minutes and increase the physical activity when you are stable enough to take 30 minute workout. Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise include, brisk walking, playing of table tennis, bicycling and water aerobics.
What exercises should I engage in during pregnancy?
Practicing regular exercise can be beneficial during pregnancy and also stimulate easy delivery. The following are exercises that are safe to engage in during pregnancy:
- Walking: brisk walking provides a lot of health benefits such as regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure, healthy weight loss, lowering of cholesterol in the blood, improving heart health and enhancing a good sleep.
- Swimming: it is an ideal exercise for pregnant women. Swimming during pregnancy helps to ; maintain healthy weight gain, improve blood circulation, stimulate cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, enhance good sleep and build up strength.
- Jogging: it is a great exercise during pregnancy and it should be taken on recommendation by your healthcare provider. If you are used to jogging before pregnancy, it is important that you consult your doctor to see if it is safe for your pregnancy before resuming for the exercise. Jogging should be done in moderation and recommendation to avoid getting complications related to pregnancies.
- Dancing: dancing is one of the perfect ways of keeping you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. It provides a lot of health benefits which include; management of stress and anxiety, straightening of muscles, relieving of back pains, enhancing of blood circulation, improving of heart and lung functions, and preventing of pregnancy complications.
- Modified Yoga: this exercise helps to improve your baby’s health and also prepare you for childbirth.
Yoga helps to ; reduce back ache, improve quality sleep, stimulate healthy breath , manage stress and improve strength and flexibility of the muscle in order to prepare you for labour.
Other healthy exercise to improve pregnancy health include stair climber, stretching and barre
What are the exercises that should be avoided during pregnancy?
The following are physical activities that you should avoid during pregnancy in other to stay healthy:
- Physical activities that involves falling
- Sports such as football, volleyball and basketball
- Exercise in hot weather
- Exercise that may cause abdominal pains
- Physical activities that involves holding of breath
- Skipping, bouncing and skydiving
- Exercises that are performed on high altitude
When should I stop exercising?
You should quit exercising and see your doctor as soon as you experience the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Viginal bleeding
- Difficult in walking
- Persistent contractions of the uterus
- A feeling that your baby is not moving or kicking
- Pelvic pain
- Fluid leaking from the vagina
Benefits of Exercise during Pregnancy
Engaging in more physical activities have a lot of benefits to you and your baby. They help to prevent complications that can arise from unhealthy weight gain and other lifestyle factors.
The are varieties of health benefits that engaging in physical activities provide during pregnancy and they include:
- Physical exercise helps to reduce back pain
- It lowers your risk of high blood pressure and getstational diabetes
- It helps to maintain healthy weight gain
- Physical exercise prepares you for labour and aids easy delivery
- It promotes good quality sleep
- Engaging in physical activities helps to boost your energy and improve good posture
- It prevents low birth weight and preterm birth
- It reduces your risk of cesarean delivery
- It stimulates proper function of heart and lungs