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It's OK - Really!



 
Pregnancy brings about pictures of women lazily lounging around all day, feet up on the table, anything they want they could eat, sleeping anytime during the day. While pregnancy does call for a bit of downtime, it doesn’t mean that you should be completely inactive. Exercise provides benefits for everyone and yes, even for pregnant women.

If you’re pregnant, you should still take the time to exercise. Why you ask? Because exercise can:

  • Ease pregnancy related aches and pains including back pains and foot or stomach cramps
  • Boost your energy level, keeps you from feeling sluggish
  • Can keep you from gaining too much weight which makes it easier for you to return to your pre-pregnancy body after giving birth
  • Reduce the risk of having gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes that a woman experiences during pregnancy which can also increase her child’s risk of getting diabetes later on in life)
  • Reduce the risk of getting post partum depression and pregnancy related high blood pressure
  • Help you prepare for labor by strengthening your muscles, increasing stamina and endurance level
  • Help elevate your mood during pregnancy

Of course, because you’re pregnant it means that certain precautions need to be taken. You shouldn’t push yourself to do strenuous activities, your exercise should stay within the range of mild to moderate. You should avoid activities that may risk a fall such as skiing or rollerskating, as well as exercises that can put undue strain on your belly such as crunches and heavy weightlifting. Choose low impact activities like light to brisk walking, light jogging or swimming. Aim to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day but if you’re particularly inactive, you can start off by doing 10 minutes, then gradually work your way up from there as you build up your stamina.

 Keep in mind that it is best to get your doctor’s go signal before you do any exercises when you’re pregnant. This is especially true for women who suffer from diabetes and have not been controlling it very well, those who have hypertension, heart disease and a condition called placenta previa, wherein the placenta can cause too much bleeding before or during childbirth.

When exercising, take care to stay hydrated and keep from overheating. Try not to exercise immediately after a meal—allow at least two hours after a meal before you begin exercising, more if you had a particularly big meal. Watch out for what your body is telling you—remember that you should never aim for pain and if pain is felt at any time, stop immediately. You should also watch out for signs such as headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, chest pain and vaginal bleeding. If you experience these, consult immediately with your doctor.

If you’re healthy during your pregnancy, there’s no reason to stay on the couch if your doctor says it’sOK to exercise. It’s understandable to feel unmotivated, but there are ways for you to motivate yourself to exercise. Tricks include listening to music while doing it, engaging the company of a friend while exercising, as well as enrolling in a class.