Other Tips For Staying Fit During Pregnancy For Athletes
If you already followed a regular exercise routine before getting pregnant, it is usually okay to continue your workout routine with modifications.
Your doctor will assess how your pregnancy is progressing and let you know if there is something you should stop doing.
Obviously, you will need to make adjustments based on how far along you are and if you have any conditions that would preclude you from exercising.
The key is to avoid strenuous exercise.
A good rule of thumb is to scale back to 80% of what you are used to doing and adjust accordingly.
Now, there are certain things you should definitely avoid.
Lets go over those now.
What To Know About Planks During Pregnancy
As long as your doctor gives you the OK, planks are generally safe to do while pregnant. In fact, abdominal work has several benefits for pregnant women including:
- Support for your pelvic floor muscles, preventing issues like frequent urination during pregnancy and postpartum.
- Increased lower back support, improving back pain caused by the pull of your baby bump.
- An easier labor and postpartum recovery
Even though planks are technically safe to do throughout pregnancy, they may not always be practical. During the first trimester, you may feel more tired than usual and not want to exercise. Or, as your pregnancy progresses, your baby bump might make planks too cumbersome.
In addition, planks and other abdominal exercises that cause your abs to bulge out when you do them can cause or contribute to diastasis recti.
How Do I Get Thicker Thighs While Pregnant
You can get thicker thigh muscles during pregnancy by maintaining a regular exercise routine that includes resistance training of the lower body.
These include dumbbell or barbell variations of the exercises mentioned above.
With that said, make sure to get clearance from your provider before lifting weights.
If you lifted weights before pregnancy, you can generally continue to do so in some capacity.
Avoid lifting heavy and overexerting yourself. Try not to elevate your heart rate too high.
On the contrary, if you havent lifted weights before your pregnancy, its probably best to keep this to a minimum.
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Signs Its Time To Slow Down
If you experience any of these symptoms, dont try to push through it, since doing so can leave you more susceptible to injuries:
- Excessive fatigue. While a good workout might leave you feeling a bit tired but accomplished, it shouldnt exhaust you so much that walking to your car in the gym parking lot seems almost impossible.
- Irritability. Those endorphins should boost your mood so if youre feeling more short-tempered than usual after every workout, it might be a sign that its time to taper back.
- Joint or muscle pain. Next-day muscle soreness is one thing: Its a faint achiness in the muscles youve been working on that can usually be lessened by stretching or massage. Look out for acute pain in the joints and muscles that pop up every time you work out, which is usually a sign it’s time to take it slower.
- Trouble sleeping. Some sleep problems are totally normal during pregnancy, and exercise should help tire your body out just enough to doze off soundly once you hit the pillow. Excessive exercise, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect. If you drastically increase the duration of intense exercise, you might find its harder to fall and stay asleep.
Is It Safe To Exercise During Pregnancy
Talk to your health care provider about exercising during pregnancy. For most pregnant women, exercising is safe and healthy for you and your baby.
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Any Amount Of Time Is Fine
We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but you dont have to do it all at once. Not only is it best to spread your physical activity out during the week, but you can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. As long as your aerobic physical activity is a moderate or vigorous effort, any amount of time counts toward meeting the aerobic guideline.
First Trimester Exercise: What You Need To Know
Before you move forward with exercise, we need to discuss some of the basics of exercising during pregnancy. If pregnancy hasnt taught your already, overall, your body is incredibly smart! As it grows a tiny human being, it adjusts your blood pressure, expands your rib cage, and increases your blood volume, among many other amazing things all without you telling it to do so.
Exercise during first trimester tends to be challenging. The volume of blood pumped out by the heart each minute increases by 5 6 weeks gestation. This major change can cause symptoms such as dizziness, rapid heart rate, and the feeling of not being able to take a deep breath. This can make you feel low on energy, green to the gills, tired, and simply blah. HOWEVER, if you can manage it, you will probably feel more energized from working out than if you skip it.
Check out the our Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Guide for a comprehensive list of the dos and donts during pregnancy exercise. But, keep in mind, these adaptations are unique for every pregnant woman and not every woman will respond to exercise during pregnancy in the same way. So listen to your body! It will tell you whats too much and when you should take it easy.
In our first trimester workouts we focus on functional training in minimal time. We keep the workouts shorter during the first trimester since most of us are low on energy. Try these workouts early in your pregnancy:
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Things To Be Aware Of
There are a few things to be aware of:
- Be careful if you are doing exercises where you could lose your balance, such as cycling, horse riding or skiing.
- Avoid contact sports where there is a risk of being hit, such as kickboxing, football, judo or squash .
- Dont exercise at high altitudes without acclimatising.
- Dont exercise for more than 45 minutes at a time.
- If you have any unusual symptoms, stop exercising and contact your doctor or midwife immediately.
- Dont let yourself get too hot drink lots of water, dont over-exercise and dont exercise in a very hot, humid climate without giving your body a few days to get used to it.
- Dont do exercises in which you lie flat on your back after 16 weeks.
Read about exercises to avoid in pregnancy.
If you take care with these points you can safely continue to stay fit through your pregnancy and beyond.
If you did not exercise before getting pregnant, it is safe and healthy to start now. Start with 15 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and increase it gradually to 30-minute sessions 4 days a week or every day.
Exercise doesnt have to mean planned sessions there are some ideas here for everyday activity that can help boost your health and that of your baby.
What Should An Exercise Program Consist Of
For total fitness, an exercise program should strengthen and condition your muscles.
Always begin by warming up for five minutes and stretching for five minutes. Include at least fifteen minutes of cardiovascular activity. Measure your heart rate at times of peak activity . Follow aerobic activity with five to ten minutes of gradually slower exercise that ends with gentle stretching.
Here are some basic exercise guidelines:
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes as well as a good support bra.
- Choose shoes that are designed for the type of exercise you do. Proper shoes are your best protection against injury.
- Exercise on a flat, level surface to prevent injury.
- Consume enough calories to meet the needs of your pregnancy as well as your exercise program.
- Finish eating at least one hour before exercising.
- Drink water before, during and after your workout.
- After doing floor exercises, get up slowly and gradually to prevent dizziness.
- Never exercise to the point of exhaustion. If you cannot talk normally while exercising, you are probably over-exerting yourself and should slow down your activity.
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What Should I Do If I Didnt Exercise Before I Was Pregnant
If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, don’t suddenly take up strenuous exercise. If you start an exercise program, tell the instructor that you’re pregnant and build up slowly. You could begin with no more than 15 minutes of continuous exercise, 3 times a week and increase this gradually to up to 2½ hours a week.
Remember that exercise doesnt have to be strenuous to be beneficial and any physical activity is better than none.
Heavy Lifting During Pregnancy
Heavy lifting during pregnancy is not recommended but it cannot always be avoided especially if you have other children or live alone.
You can prevent pregnancy back pain by implementing the correct lifting techniques as outlined in our body care section.
If you are going to push a weight, object such as a change table, cot or chair place your legs in a stride stance with your strongest foot back.
For most people they will have their right foot back and their left leg forwards. Your front foot should be positioned as close to the load as possible. Use your body weight to initiate the movement and try to keep your elbows close to your body.
If you must pull an object, face the object, use both arms. Place your feet in a stride stance with your stronger foot forward and use your body weight to initiate the movement.
When you pull you are not using your major muscles groups and can be prone to injury. As you will likely be moving backwards it is essential you clear the path behind you as you move the load from point A to point B.
How much you can lift will depend on your strength, your technique and the size and shape of the object. If you try to lift with poor technique then you will place significant strain on many parts of our body.
Prior to lifting, you should plan how you will lift the object. Where you are moving the object. If you are in doubt about the weight or size then seek assistance with the lift.
Correct Technique Involves:
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Do Prepare For Labor By Practicing Squats With A Yoga Ball While Pregnant
Squatting “helps open your pelvic outlet,” enabling the unborn baby to move down, making it a great go-to move during labor, according to Mayo Clinic. Since practice makes perfect, prepare for the delivery room by doing squats throughout your pregnancy, too. Yes, doing squats is one exercise to do while pregnant.
You can make this move a bit easier with the help of a yoga ball and the support of a wall. Simply, place a yoga ball between your back and the wall. “Slide down the wall until your knees reach a 90-degree angle, being careful to keep your heels flat on the floor,” Mayo Clinic advises. ‘If you can’t bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, simply go as low as you can…” Then get back up, and start all over again. The goal should be to get to a place where you can do about ten of these squats in a row. As per Mayo Clinic’s suggestion, you should have a spotter present to prevent falls.
When Should You Stop Exercising What Are The Warning Signs You Should Watch For When Exercising
When youre being physically active, drink lots of water and pay attention to your body and how you feel. Stop your activity and call your provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
- Bleeding from the vagina or fluid leaking from the vagina
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or trouble breathing
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Muscle weakness, trouble walking, or pain or swelling in your lower legs. Pain or swelling in your lower legs may be signs of deep vein thrombosis . DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a vein deep in the body, usually in the lower leg or thigh. If untreated, it can cause serious health problems and even death.
- Regular, painful contractions. A contraction is when the muscles of your uterus get tight and then relax. Contractions help push your baby out of your uterus.
- Your baby stops moving. This may be a symptom of stillbirth .
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How Often Should I Exercise During Pregnancy
You should try to be active every day of the week. Depending on how much exercise you did before your pregnancy, be sensible about the level of exercise that you do.
You don’t need to exhaust yourself a light to moderate exercise program should be the aim, but if you feel comfortable, you can do more intense exercise.
As a general rule, a light to moderate level should allow you to hold a conversation during the activity. The more intense the exercise, the harder it will be to talk.
For low to moderate exercise, aim for 2½ to 5 hours a week .
If you are comfortable doing more vigorous exercise, aim for 1¼ to 2½ hours a week .
You dont have to do your daily exercise all at one time you can break up your routine throughout the day.
As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to slow down. If in doubt, consult your maternity team.
Can Pregnant Women Still Use The Gym
Yes, of course. Right now we know most gyms are closed due to COVID-19. But they will open up again soon and when they do you can get back to your prenatal workouts.
Please use extra measures to ensure you wipe down machines and that those around you are also doing the same. While you can use the gym, there are certain classes, exercises and machines you must avoid.
2. Can I use weight machines while pregnant?
Yes, but not all. If the machine places excessive strain on your lower back then try to avoid them.
You are at an increased risk for musculoskeletal injury. This is because the placenta produces the pregnancy hormone called relaxin, which relaxes the body’s joints. This is critical since the pelvis needs to expand to accommodate the growing uterus and baby. It also allows the baby to pass through the birth canal during delivery.
There are so many types of machines in the gym to cover all in this article. But essentially it comes down to using your judgement and avoiding machines that can cause you injury like the ones listed below.
You can use the squat rack, but use a lower weight and make sure you use correct technique.
Pin-loaded machines become more of a common sense choice when pregnant as they provide you with more control as compared to many dumbbells and barbell exercises where you may lose your balance.
Avoid any machine with a pad that presses against your belly, such as the seated row machine or abdominal machines.
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Benefits Of Exercising While Pregnant
If you think of exercise solely as a way to fit into a smaller pair of pants, you may need to shift your perspective now that youre pregnant.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , exercising during pregnancy can lead to a lower incidence of:
- preterm birth
Brooke Cates, prenatal and postpartum fitness expert and owner of Studio Bloom, says some exercises can be implemented in each trimester to support the body through its physical changes while preparing for an easier return to exercise postpartum.
She emphasizes a shift of focus on core and pelvic floor awareness, which can help you build a deeper core-based connection before the real changes begin to take place.
Getting In Shape While Pregnant
Today, youre going to learn about getting in shape while pregnant.
Specifically, youll learn:
- What you can and cannot do while pregnant,
- What to expect in terms of weight gain, and
- Strategies for improving or maintaining your fitness.
And if you are already in shape and you want to learn how to stay fit during pregnancy, theres something here for you as well!
Lets get started.
Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
Ok, moving on.
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Group Dance Or Aerobics Classes
Low-impact aerobics and dance workout classes like Zumba are a great way to increase your heart rate and get the endorphins flowing if youre a newbie exerciser. As your abdomen expands, avoid any activities that require careful balance. If youre an experienced athlete, listen to your body, avoid jumping or high-impact movements, and never exercise to the point of exhaustion. If youre new to exercise, opt for the water version of aerobics, which is ideal for the expecting set.