Should you opt for working out at the gym during pregnancy?
While exercising during pregnancy is essential for a healthy mother-to-be, there are certain precautions to take while working out. A woman’s body goes through many hormonal changes during pregnancy. And so, it is essential to understand the impact of these changes on your body. Here are some tips, such as choosing appropriate gym clothing to help you stay safe while taking care of yourself.
Get a physical test done beforehand
Before you start exercising; it’s crucial to get a physical test done. This includes blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Having your doctor check your heart rate at rest and after exercise is also advisable. Ideally, you should get a physical test done after 20 weeks of pregnancy when most women begin showing signs of pregnancy-related complications.
Don’t stop exercising after 20 weeks
There is no reason to stop exercising after 20 weeks. Exercise is good for you, and it’s vital during pregnancy.
The benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:
- Improving your mood
- Reducing the risk of complications like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (high blood pressure)
- Increasing energy levels may help reduce backaches, fatigue and swelling in the legs or ankles
Opt for light workouts and increase them gradually
If you are a fitness freak, then there is no reason to stop working out during pregnancy. However, you need to be careful as there are specific exercises that should be avoided and others that can be maintained with caution.
Here’s what the experts say:
- You can continue your routine but don’t overdo it. If you feel like having had enough, do not force yourself to do more than your body allows.
- Yoga is excellent for pregnant women because it helps them relax their muscles and relieve stress from their bodies. It also improves their posture, which will help them avoid back pain in the later stages of pregnancy. Moreover, yoga helps stretch the muscles so they don’t get cramped during labour hours.
- Swimming is another excellent exercise during pregnancy because water provides buoyancy, making it easier on your joints. Moreover, it increases blood flow and improves circulation too. But avoid deep diving as this may put pressure on your belly button area, causing harm if done repeatedly throughout each session.
Eating is even more important during your pregnancy. You need to eat heartily and stay healthy, but you also need to be careful of what you eat, as some foods may cause harm or discomfort to a developing baby.
Generally, avoiding junk food and other unhealthy options like fast food and fried food is wise. Excessive intake of these items can lead to obesity, harming both mom and baby. Similarly, eating too little (or skipping meals) might lead to low blood sugar levels that could potentially cause complications during labour or delivery.
Additionally, if you are working out at the gym during pregnancy, then make sure that you have a proper diet plan in place for yourself with all essential nutrients required by your body for maintaining its functions efficiently throughout the day.
Avoid high-intensity exercises
Avoid exercises that require a lot of effort and have you breathing hard. Examples include running, swimming, cycling and aerobic activities such as step aerobics or kickboxing.
If you’re in the first trimester, avoid high-impact exercise altogether. In the second and third trimesters (with your doctor’s permission), moderate-intensity exercise is okay but avoid anything too vigorous. Stop if you feel pain or lightheaded-ness during an activity. It’s probably best to cut it short for the day and rest until the next day before resuming at lower intensity levels.
Choose loose and comfortable outfits
Loose gym clothing will allow more air circulation, which is always a good thing when pregnant. They’ll also help you feel more comfortable exercising (especially if your body has changed since the last time you were in shape). Loose clothing can be more flattering, hiding any extra weight that might accumulate during pregnancy. This choice of clothing will also work for you during post-partum.