Move baby, move. Contrary to some prevalent myths, pregnancy is the ideal time to start exercising. Whether or not you tend to count fridge-opening as bicep curls, experts agree that the real hazard is inactivity. Even for formerly sedentary women, walking is safe to begin when pregnant. Of course, if you have never exercised regularly before, talk with your health care provider about which exercises he or she recommends for you. It’s unlikely any physician will advise you to try a new, strenuous activity.
Benefits of Exercising during Pregnancy
Continuing a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help your posture and decrease common discomforts such as stress, fatigue and backaches. Moderate physical activity may prevent gestational diabetes and build the stamina needed for labor and delivery. Indeed, during those last few hours of pushing, you may be exceedingly grateful for your core workouts.
Yoga may Reduce Depression in Pregnant Women
New research also suggests that yoga may help ease depression in pregnant women. A Brown University study tracked 34 pregnant women with depression. They attended yoga classes for 10 weeks and were encouraged to continue their yoga practice at home. The women’s levels of depression fell during the study, and the more yoga they did, the better their mental health, the researchers reported.
Best Exercises during Pregnancy
Nobody recommends vomit-inducing sprints for pregnant women, but many competitive athletes and runners are able to run many months into their pregnancies before they switch to lower-impact activities, such as water workouts or striding on the elliptical. Make sure you hydrate and avoid working out in the heat. Don’t aim to beat former records, but do comfortable for you now. Make the most of energetic, feel-good days and don’t stress about days when your feel nauseous or sluggish.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. Many pregnant women choose swimming, stationary cycling, elliptical machines, walking, and low-impact aerobics to stay fit. These activities carry little risk of injury and can be continued until birth.
Each woman is different. If you have a pregnancy-related condition such as a weak cervix or a low placenta, or if you have asthma, heart disease or diabetes, your health care provider can give you personal exercise guidelines.