For many women pregnancy can be a little overwhelming. There are so many do’s and don’ts it can be confusing. Whether or not to exercise can cause even more confusion. Exercise has many benefits and exercising during pregnancy can be helpful in many ways. Let's go over a few basic guidelines to exercising while pregnant:
>> Check with your doctor first. If you exercised before you were pregnant and have a normal pregnancy, chances are you will get your doctors blessing with a few modifications. There are cases where exercise is not recommended and you should check first to make sure you are not putting you or your baby at risk.
>> If you are new to exercise, again, check with your doctor first. If he/she gives you the OK, choose a low-impact activity for 15 to 20 minutes, three days a week. A good rule is if you cannot hold a conversation, lower the intensity.
>> Add calories. You should add 300 to 500 calories per day to accommodate for your workout and your growing baby. Make sure you are taking in plenty of fruits and vegetables and eating often.
>> Stay away from high impact activities. Biking off road and running trails could even be more dangerous than usual during pregnancy. The hormones that cause your pelvis to relax to give birth also effect other joints and ligaments and can cause you to be more prone to sprains and strains.
>> Wear the correct clothing. Make sure you wear loose fitting breathable clothing. Layering clothing may help you stay cooler and you can take layers off as you warm up. The right maternity bra is a must as are shoes that have good support. Take into consideration you may have swelling in your feet so a new pair of shoes may be necessary.
>> Warm up. Begin your workout by slowly increasing your heart rate. This can help reduce the chance of straining ligaments and muscles.
>> Drink plenty of water. Keep yourself hydrated before, during and after exercise. Dehydration can cause contractions and raise your body temperature.
>> Do not lie flat on your back. After the first trimester, the supine position can cause decreased blood flow to the uterus and your brain. Putting a pillow under your right hip can alleviate the pressure.
>> Do not get overheated. Increased metabolism and blood flow can cause you to overheat more quickly than normal. Monitor if you feel nauseous, light headed or dizzy. If you have any of these symptoms, it's time to cool down!