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Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

There used to be a time when women were advised not to exercise during pregnancy due to the risk of miscarriage. However, research doesn’t back this claim. In fact, not only is exercise safe during pregnancy, it can also lead to significant benefits to mother and baby.

During pregnancy, your amount of blood increases by about 50 percent. This means that your heart has to work harder to circulate the blood around the body – including your extra new organ, the placenta. Stress to your heart is greater when you’re pregnant than when you exercised before pregnancy. Therefore, you can do less exercise and work just as hard as you did before pregnancy.

However, note that pregnancy isn’t the time to lose weight or push yourself to your maximum level. Focus on improving your cardiovascular and overall fitness level instead.

What to expect when you exercise during pregnancy?

You’ll feel out of breath much faster when you workout during pregnancy. ome women may feel that they’re out of shape because of this but you’re actually breathing about 20 to 25 percent more air to remove more carbon dioxide from your blood and your baby’s (the baby doesn’t breathe in the womb, his/her carbon dioxide is simply released into your blood). This shows that your body is adapting normally.

Make sure you exercise after talking to your healthcare about it. Exercising 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 days a week can lead to substantial results, including improved blood flow. Other benefits include increased energy levels, reduction in constipation, swelling and backaches, better mood and posture and improved strength, muscle tone and cardiovascular health. Additionally, you may sleep soundly in the night and even manage your labor better.

Warnings

Avoid contact sports and sports that may cause you to fall, be hit in the stomach or be thrown out of balance. Examples include rugby, football, squash, tennis, diving, gymnastics, water skiing, horse-riding and skating.

If you have never exercises before, be sure to consult your doctor or midwife before you start. This isn’t the time to jump into a high-intense workout. Start with gentle or moderate exercises for 10 minutes and increase it to 30 minutes per day as you progress. You have to ensure that you’re comfortable with your workouts.

Many women who aren’t used to physical activity tend to start after the first trimester – when unpleasant symptoms such as fatigue and morning sickness have subsided. It’s fine and even beneficial to perform some gentle exercises such as swimming, walking and prenatal yoga if you do not have any problems related to your pregnancy but avoid starting any strenuous workouts your body isn’t used to yet – leave these for your post-pregnancy fitness routine.

If you experience any unpleasant symptoms, stop and see your healthcare provider immediately.

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