Some expecting moms want to jump right on the treadmill as soon as they’re over the nausea, and others can’t even think about getting out of their comfy chair. Of course, every pregnant mom needs rest, but finding a balance between resting and moving has health benefits for moms and babies on all levels of health.
And, according to a new study, a normal-weight woman who exercises during pregnancy lessens Baby's risk of obesity later in life. "Based on our findings, we recommend that women — whether or not they are obese or have diabetes — exercise regularly during pregnancy because it benefits their children's metabolic health," says Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student at the Washington State University who conducted the study.
Exercise during pregnancy has benefits beyond just physical — it can decrease psychological stressors, anxiety, respiratory health, flexibility and more.
BENEFITS TO MOM
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says, "Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in these key ways: Reduces back pain; Eases constipation; May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean delivery; Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy; Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels; and helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born."
IDEAL FITNESS PROGRAMS
With exercise and pregnancy, what’s safe and what isn’t? It’s all about your overall health and what exercise routines you followed before getting pregnant. Being physically active throughout pregnancy has a multitude of health benefits, but deciding to train for a marathon or give hot yoga a try can cause more harm than good if you’ve never done that before.
The ACOG says that some of the safest exercisers for pregnant women include walking, swimming and water workouts, stationary bicycling, and modified yoga and modified pilates.
But, it also makes sense to follow "the common-sense rule," which means if it doesn’t feel comfortable, is painful or puts you at risk for falling, stop immediately, change positions, rest and hydrate.
If you’re a woman who jogged, swam or followed a certain fitness routine before getting pregnant, it’s OK to keep going. As long as your doctor gives you a thumbs up and you’re having a low- risk pregnancy, you can continue exercising and modifying as needed.
If you haven’t engaged in any regular exercise prior to your pregnancy, stick to low-impact exercises including walking, aqua aerobics and any other low-intensity workouts. Going for 10 – 15 minutes at a time is a great way to start. Most importantly, follow your inner compass — if it hurts, don’t do it.
As you move through your pregnancy, trimester to trimester, modifying your exercises is related to how you’re feeling. The further along you are in pregnancy, the more uncomfortable you will start to feel. Know when it’s time to make adjustments.
After the first trimester, it’s best to avoid exercises that involve lying on your back. Once you reach the third trimester, avoid any sudden or quick, jerky movements or overstretching. Change your exercises to make yourself more comfortable by using a pillow to prop up; switching from sitting or standing; or lying on your side. Most importantly, you know best, so monitor your fluid intake, fatigue and balance to avoid problems. If something is abnormal, stop and call your doctor.