Pregnancy is one of the most exciting and physically taxing times in a woman’s life. In most situations, exercise can help ease some of those symptoms. At least, that has been my personal and professional experience as a mom and fitness expert.
According to MayoClinic.com, “During pregnancy, exercise can: ease or prevent back pain and other discomforts, boost your energy level, prevent excess weight gain, reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and postpartum depression and increase stamina and muscle strength, which helps you prepare for labor.”
Before you begin an exercise program, make sure you have your health care provider's okay. Although exercise during pregnancy is generally good for both mother and baby, The Mayo Clinic says it is also important to consult with your OBGYN before beginning an exercise program.
This is especially true if you have diabetes that is poorly controlled, or if you have other contraindications including heart disease or placenta previa. Women who are deemed high risk with the above or other conditions, may be restricted from exercise or limited to certain types of activities.
If you are in good health and already exercising, most doctors I have found, will advise you to continue or start exercising. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising for about a half-hour a day is recommended, but they suggest pacing yourself.
“If you haven't exercised for a while, begin with as little as five minutes of physical activity a day. Build up to 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and so on, until you reach at least 30 minutes a day.”
However, if you are an avid exerciser, it is okay to continue with a similar routine as long as once again you check with your doctor and are feeling up to it.
AmericanPregnancy.org offers these guidelines. “Never exercise to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness. This is a sign that your baby and your body cannot get the oxygen supply they need. Take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.”
There is much research to support the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, for both you and your baby. A 1990 separate study conducted by Clapp also concluded that women who exercised regularly during their pregnancy had shorter labors, fewer C-sections, and less incidence of forceps use.
Their babies also had higher APGAR scores. APGAR was named after its developer anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar, and is also an acronym for Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance, and Respiration. The APGAR test is given to a newborn immediately after birth.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is also important. As a fitness professional, I often see women either too nervous about gaining weight or giving in to all types of cravings. Remember, there is a happy medium. As AmericanPregnancy.org says, “Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.”
“Pregnancy and exercise: Baby, let's move! – MayoClinic.com.” The Mayo Clinic. Web. 11 June 2013.
“Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines, “AmericanPregnancy.org. American Pregnancy Association. Web. 11 June 2013.
Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, 1990; James F. Clapp III M.D.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Add a Comment2 Comments
I have been exercsing through my pregnancy and I feel brilliant, so healthy and happy. I think it has made the changing of my body easier to accept as well! I have been wearing Fittmamma clothing as well which really supports your bump and makes you feel more attractive anyway!June 19, 2013 - 6:41am
While my mom was pregnant with my sister, she often did these stuffs. I think it really did help her during labor, she gave birth so fast and easy. - Carmack Moving and StorageJune 12, 2013 - 12:31pm