For many mums-to-be, the question of whether to continue or even begin an exercise regime during pregnancy is one that is often met with controversy. We encourage you to pay a visit to your doctor in your search for an answer – whilst exercise is usually encouraged during pregnancy, under some circumstances it can be detrimental. Your doctor will perform a clinical evaluation to determine whether exercise equipment is safe for you and your growing fetus.
Benefits of Working Out
The use of exercise equipment during pregnancy offers many physical and emotional benefits. A good regime, for example, can help to relieve common problems associated with pregnancy (such as excessive weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, leg cramps, varicose veins, insomnia, fatigue and constipation). You could also experience improved posture and circulation, reduced backaches, and increased mood or energy.
Listen to your Body
Obstetrician and gynecologist bodies recommend that pregnant women who have been cleared by their doctor should partake in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most (if not all) days of the week. This could include walking, swimming, cycling, moderate-intensity aerobics, running, racquet sports, and strength training. The latter three, however, are only safe for women who engaged in them prior to falling pregnant.
When designing your exercise regime, you will need to take into account all of the changes your body is experiencing (such as new body alignment, reduced strength and endurance, different posture, and extra weight), which place stress on your joints and muscles as well as making your heart work faster. The key is to let your body be your guide – you will know that you’re at a suitable intensity if you can talk normally and not become quickly exhausted.
After the first trimester, all women should avoid exercises that require them to lie on their backs in a supine position. This could not only cause you to feel dizzy when you stand up, it can also decrease blood flow to you and your baby. Women should also avoid activities with increased risk of trauma or falling (such as ice hockey, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, horseback riding, and downhill skiing). These sorts of sports could be fatal for a growing fetus.
It is of the essential that you pay close attention to signs that something is wrong when using exercise equipment, either for you or your baby. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising immediately and get in contact with your doctor – vaginal bleeding, shortness of breath before exercising, chest pain, dizziness, headaches, muscle weakness, preterm labour, decreased fetal movement, and amniotic fluid leakage.
If you are interested in continuing with your use of exercise equipment whilst pregnant but aren’t 100% sure on what is safe and what isn’t, we recommend getting in contact with your doctor. They will be able to outline a list of activities that it is perfectly safe for you to partake in. We also recommend finding a personal trainer who has experience with pregnant women, as they will be able to help you reach your fitness goals safely.