Staying active throughout pregnancy offers all sorts of potential emotional and physical benefits for both mom and baby. However, it is critical to learn about the best and safest ways to work out to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy over the course of this nine-month journey. Manageable exercises are recommended for women to safely implement in each trimester to help improve the health of themselves and their baby. Read on to discover just a few of the benefits associated with exercise during pregnancy and to learn about the best workouts for each trimester.
Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy
Establishing a workout routine in the first weeks of pregnancy can promote a wide variety of benefits for the next nine months that range from moderate emotional boosts to reducing the risk of potentially life threatening conditions. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, consistent exercise during pregnancy may promote healthy weight gain, strengthen the heart and blood vessels, and decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and a cesarean delivery. In addition to these physical benefits, exercise has also been associated with other holistic perks such as decreased stress and anxiety, increased mood, reduced morning sickness, and improved sleep.
It’s important to talk with a doctor or other medical professional to help evaluate your pre-pregnancy levels of fitness and determine the best pregnancy fitness plan for you and your baby. In the first trimester, however, you should aim to exercise around 150 minutes each week, which is the equivalent of five 30-minute or seven 20-25 minute workouts per week. Each of these workouts should be low-impact and moderate-intensity. Some recommended exercises for the first trimester include walking, swimming, light jogging and running, yoga, and water aerobics.
Many women have more energy in their second trimester, which emphasizes the importance of developing healthy exercise habits early in the pregnancy. You should continue engaging in low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and water aerobics throughout the middle of the pregnancy. If energy levels have increased, you may also be able to incorporate some light strength training into your exercise routine — it’s never too early to develop some lean muscles to help you through delivery!
It is especially important to refrain from high-impact and contact sports when you enter your second trimester, though these kinds of exercises are not recommended at any point in pregnancy. Additionally, it’s recommended to avoid exercises that require you to lie flat on your back from this point on as the increased weight in your uterus may limit blood flow in a major vein called the vena cava which may restrict circulation to you and your baby.
In the third trimester, make sure to exercise smarter, not harder. Many women experience a spike in levels of fatigue so it may be necessary to ease up on aerobic exercises or workout for shorter periods of time. It may also be helpful to introduce light yoga or pilates to increase flexibility and strengthen the lower body as your due date approaches. For example, as pelvic floor muscles support internal organs, including the uterus, and can be weakened and overstretched due to added weight during pregnancy, exercises such as kegels are frequently recommended by OB/GYNs to women in their third trimester. Pelvic floor exercises help to maintain muscle tone and prevent urinary incontinence during and after pregnancy.
Pregnancy is physically and mentally challenging, but you may experience noticeable health benefits from exercising regularly and eating healthy. The medical staff at All American Healthcare wants to make sure you have a comfortable pregnancy by offering the best in chiropractic pain relief, holistic pain management, physical rehabilitation, and physical medicine. All of our consultations are free, so come visit us today.