Exercising and Pregnancy {Pregnancy} [Part – II]

Read the previous part of this series here.

Guest Post by Punam

Changes associated with pregnancy

There are many changes that take place during pregnancy. Some will affect your ability to exercise.
  • Hormones such as relaxin loosen ligaments which could increase your risk of joint injuries (for example, sprains).
  • As pregnancy progresses, weight increase combines with changes in weight distribution and body shape. This results in the body’s centre of gravity moving forward, which can alter balance and coordination.
  • Pregnancy increases your resting heart rate, so it is not recommended to use target heart rate to work out the intensity of your exercise. In healthy pregnant women, exercise intensity can be monitored using a method known as Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale (RPE). This measures how hard you feel (perceive) your body is working.
  • Your blood pressure drops in the second trimester, so it is important to avoid rapid changes of position – from lying to standing, and vice versa – so as not to experience dizzy spells.


General exercise suggestions during pregnancy

It is important to discuss your exercise plan with your doctor, as each pregnancy is different. In general, healthy women who have uncomplicated pregnancies can continue their previous exercise program after consultation with a doctor. It is also now considered safe to start a new exercise program during pregnancy if given the all-clear by your doctor.
If you have been cleared to exercise, it is recommended that you:
  • Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (according to the Perceived Exertion Scale) on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Do no more than three sessions per week of vigorous exercise by the third trimester.
  • Let your body be your guide. You know you’re at a good intensity when you can talk normally and not become exhausted too quickly.
  • Be guided by your doctor, physiotherapist or health care professional.

Suggested exercise activities during pregnancy

Activities that are generally safe during pregnancy, even for beginners, include:
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling – outdoors or on a stationary bicycle
  • Exercise in water (aquarobics)
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Dancing (this was my favorite activity)
  • Pilates
  • Pregnancy exercise classes (they help the most because you get expert advise and exchange experience with other pregnant women)
Some activities like running and strength training are safe when done in moderation by pregnant women, especially if they had been actively participating in these activities prior to pregnancy.

What do you say about pregnancy and exercising? 

Punam is currently busy with her second baby and I wish she will soon come on board with more articles like these. She blogs at be beautiful with Punam

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