Why exercise while pregnant? For starters, women who exercise during pregnancy have:
- more energy
- fewer mood swings
- more restful sleep
- ability to better handle stress
If that’s not enough, research shows that pregnant women will also benefit from a shorter labor (by two hours) with less medical intervention (24% fewer cesarean deliveries), less fetal distress and a quicker recovery.
Ready to get started?
Follow these 10 tips to exercise smart and safe while pregnant:
- Aim for a 30 minute workout (but also add a 10-minute warm-up and 10-minute cool-down.)
- Pregnancy hormones loosen your joints, so avoid forced, passive stretches like reaching for your toes, jerking and bouncing movements or quick changes in position.
- Low-impact aerobics are best, particularly if you weren’t exercising before pregnancy. Brisk walking, swimming, stationary biking are good. Weight train only under proper guidance.
- Avoid overheating. Don’t exercise in hot, humid conditions and drink plenty of water.
- Monitor your heart rate at peak activity to make sure you don’t exceed 140 beats per minute.
- Avoid high risk activities such as horseback riding, scuba diving, downhill skiing or any sport that could cause you to get hit in the abdomen.
- Exercise until fatigued, not exhausted.
- If you have bleeding, cramping, faintness/dizziness, elevated blood pressure or severe joint pain, stop exercising immediately and talk to your doctor or midwife.
- Avoid exercise that requires you to lie flat on your back for an extended period since this can reduce your heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the baby.
- Women with certain health conditions may be advised not to exercise, so always check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise routine.
Do you have a chiropractor on your prenatal team? Click here to read why you should.
Located in Greenville, South Carolina, Dr. Afshar specializes in pregnancy and pediatric chiropractic care.